Filing For Divorce When Your Spouse Has a Substance Abuse Problem

No one gets married thinking they’ll eventually divorce. However, some circumstances make remaining married nearly impossible, like when your spouse suffers from a substance abuse problem that they refuse to address. The safety of you and your family is critical when dealing with substance abuse issues. If you have a spouse with a substance abuse problem, it’s important to leave and seek help immediately if you believe you are in danger. If you decide to file for divorce, a substance abuse problem will affect many aspects of the divorce proceedings. This is because the addicted spouse is at higher risk for abuse and neglect. Here’s how substance abuse problems affect divorce filings.

Child Custody

While Florida law specifies that 50/50 time-sharing is the optimal time-sharing arrangement in most divorce cases, there are a few exceptions. The presence of illegal substances in a home, a criminal history with drugs and alcohol, and the risk of abuse are some of these exceptions. Florida courts will act in the child’s best interest, and being present when a parent is abusing drugs or alcohol isn’t one of those times. If you can prove that your spouse has abused alcohol or drugs, it will impact the amount of time they spend with your children. The courts may mandate supervised visits and no overnights so your children aren’t alone with your ex. Note: these laws intend to keep children safe from abusive and neglectful situations due to someone’s severe addiction. This doesn’t apply to parents who occasionally drink or have a glass of wine with dinner.  

Asset Division

If one spouse has a history of substance abuse, a judge may decide that the sober spouse deserves a more significant portion of the marital estate during a divorce. This is especially true if the addicted spouse used marital property to fund their addiction. This serves as a way to compensate the sober spouse for the actions of the addicted spouse. How much the addicted spouse reduced marital assets to fund their habit during the marriage will also be considered when dividing property.

Spousal and Child Support 

A spouse who has a known drug habit is less likely to be awarded spousal support. Child support payments may also be limited to ensure the offending spouse won’t misuse funds to feed their addiction.

Protective Injunction Orders  

Protective injunctions, referred to as restraining orders, are often the first step a spouse takes when leaving an addicted spouse. If you believe you’re in immediate danger due to your spouse’s drug addiction, it’s crucial to get help and find a safe place. You can then file an injunction against your spouse, legally requiring your spouse to perform (or avoid) specific actions. For example, a protective injunction may order your spouse to leave your familial home or stay away from you and your children. If you file a protective injunction against your spouse and later file for divorce, the court will consider it when determining custody and support arrangements. 

Complicated Divorce? Contact the Remsen Family Law Firm 

Dealing with a spouse with a substance abuse problem is challenging. Divorce can make it even worse. Don’t go through it alone. Let our divorce attorney in Lake County, Florida, guide you through the Florida divorce proceedings. We’ll fight for the best outcome for you and your family. Contact our office today to speak to us about your case.