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How to Protect Yourself Financially When Divorcing Someone with Addiction Issues

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County famila law attorneyAccording to government data, approximately 23.5 million Americans have drug and alcohol addictions.  That works out to roughly one in 10 individuals in the United States over the age of 12. Alcoholism and drug addiction can rob a person of everything they hold dear in life, including their marriage. Of course, drugs and alcohol are not the only types of addictions that occur. Compulsive shopping, gambling addiction, and even sex and pornography addictions can also wreak havoc on a couple‚Äôs marriage. If you are considering divorcing your spouse who suffers from an addiction, there are several things you should keep in mind.

Consider a Legal Separation

If you are planning to divorce a spouse suffering from addiction, it is crucial that you take steps to protect your property and assets. Consider placing your money in separate bank accounts instead of a joint account. You may also want to remove your spouse as an authorized user on your credit cards. Generally, any debt which is accumulated after a couple has filed for divorce is not included in the marital estate and subject to property division during divorce, especially debts that were entered into for the benefit of just one spouse.

If you worry that your money will be wasted by your spouse because of their addiction before you file for divorce, you may want to consider filing for legal separation as soon as possible. A person who is legally separated is not responsible for debt accumulated by his or her spouse after the separation. In order for a couple to be granted a legal separation in Illinois, they must be living apart.  

You May Be Able to Recover Funds Your Spouse Wasted

Addictions can become shockingly expensive in just a short period of time. If your spouse has spent significant amounts of money on his or her addiction, you may be able to recover some of these lost funds during divorce. Dissipation is a legal term used to describe reckless spending during the end of a marriage. It is technically defined by the Illinois Supreme Court as the "use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown." So, if your spouse wasted thousands of dollars due to his or her addiction after you stopped trying to reconcile the marriage and stay together, this may be considered dissipation. Recovering dissipated funds can be quite challenging and almost always requires the help of a qualified family law attorney experienced in such issues.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer  

To learn more about how to protect your finances while divorcing an addict, contact a Naperville family law attorney. Schedule a free initial consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C., by calling 630-352-2240 today.

 

Sources:

https://drugfree.org/learn/drug-and-alcohol-news/new-data-show-millions-of-americans-with-alcohol-and-drug-addiction-could-benefit-from-health-care-reform/

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2012/2ndDistrict/2091339.pdf

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