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Things to Consider When Divorcing an Addict

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyerTragically, addiction is something that touches millions of Americans’ lives every year. Drug and alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, and even compulsive shopping can rob a person of their joy, career, and even marriage. If you are considering leaving your spouse due to his or her addiction, you may feel lost, confused, and unsure of how to move forward with a divorce. The bad news is that divorcing an addict is often much more challenging than divorcing a person without addiction issues. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help prevent complications as well as protect yourself and your rights during the divorce process.

You Do Not Need to Prove Your Need for a Divorce

Television and movies have only added to the confusion surrounding separation and divorce. In many films, a spouse can be seen explaining how and why the other spouse created the need for the couple to divorce. In real life, you will never need to justify your desire to end your marriage. Illinois, along with every other U.S state, allows married spouses to file for divorce without specifying the “grounds” or reasoning for the separation. You will be able to file for divorce based on no-fault grounds. In Illinois the only official grounds for divorce is "irreconcilable differences," meaning that the marriage is irretrievably damaged and cannot be salvaged.

Addiction Issues May Affect Child Custody Decisions

Courts making decisions about child custody and visitation understand that many parents have the occasional stiff drink. However, any substance abuse or addiction issues that are severe will likely be seen as red flags by the court. Anything that the judge thinks will affect a person’s parenting ability will be taken into consideration. In order to create the healthiest environment for children possible, a judge may order that the addicted parent only visit with their child during the daytime and forgo overnight visits. The judge also has the option of requiring visits to be supervised by a professional appointed by the court. Parents who struggle with severe drug and alcohol addiction but wish to maintain parental responsibility may be required to submit to occasional drug and alcohol screens or attend an addiction recovery program or support group. If the court believes an addicted parent represents a danger to his or her child(ren), full custody may be awarded to the non-addicted parent.

You May Be Able to Recover Funds Wasted Due to an Addiction

“Dissipation” is a legal term used to refer to wasted marital assets. When a spouse uses marital funds or assets for personal purposes during the end stages of a marriage, he or she may be engaging in dissipation. For example, if you and your spouse decide to divorce and then your spouse goes out and wastes thousands of dollars gambling, you may have the right to reclaim that money. If you believe your spouse has dissipated assets, it is critical that you speak with a qualified family law attorney as soon as possible. The law only allows dissipation claims to be filed within a certain window of time.

Let Us Help

The dedicated team of Naperville divorce lawyers at Pesce Law Group, P.C. are here to help with all of your family law needs. To schedule a free initial consultation at our firm, call 630-352-2240 today.



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