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Kyle Whitaker Blog

How Does Your Spouse’s Addiction Affect Your Divorce Case?

People with substance use disorder have the same rights to equitable distribution and to parenting time with their minor children as everyone else, but your spouse’s addiction may continue to affect your finances and family relationships even after your divorce becomes final.

Drug and alcohol addiction has destroyed many marriages. While it is normal to be angry at your ex-spouse for letting his addiction cause you and your children so much pain, the court does not punish parties in family law cases simply for having a problem with drugs or drinking. Marital misconduct is when one spouse intentionally hides assets from the other or spends money on an extramarital affair. By contrast, chronic illnesses are no one’s fault; from the court’s perspective, substance use disorder affects a divorce case in much the same way that any other chronic illness would, whether it is diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or any other health condition. No one expects you to take such a detached view of your situation, though; you can and should concentrate on rescuing yourselves and your children from the constant danger, uncertainty, and drama associated with a family member’s addiction. The Fort Worth divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you think clearly about your situation as you adjust to a new life without your addicted spouse.

Rebuilding Your Finances After Your Ex-Spouse’s Addiction Has Devastated Them

Texas is an equitable distribution state, so the court decides on a case-by-case basis the fairest way to divide the divorcing couple’s marital assets and debts. Debt is a national epidemic, even affecting people who have never struggled with substance abuse, so if you are divorcing an addict, you probably have plenty of debt. All debts incurred during the marriage are marital, but the court will acknowledge that your spouse’s addiction played a role in your debts piling up, especially if you and your spouse borrowed money to pay for addiction treatment. The court will probably award each of you a share of the marital debt. If you find yourself unable to pay the debts after the divorce becomes final, filing for bankruptcy is an option.

How Does Substance Use Disorder Affect Your Parenting Plan?

Timesharing schedules for divorced parents are based on the children’s needs and the parents’ work obligations. Having a history of substance use disorder does not take away your right to parenting time. If your ex-spouse has been under the influence of drugs around your children, the court might determine that it is unsafe for her to have unsupervised parenting time. It might order supervised parenting time, where another adult (for example, your ex-spouse’s mother) must be present at all times during your ex’s parenting time. Supervised parenting time is always temporary; the court reviews the decision every six months. Once your ex has been sober for a few months, the court will reinstate her unsupervised parenting time.

Contact the Fort Worth TX Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Divorcing an Addict

A family law attorney can help you finalize your divorce and parenting plan if your spouse’s substance use disorder contributed to the breakdown of your marriage. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss your case.