Addiction can put incredible strain on a marriage. It can destroy trust, drain finances and spark increasingly hostile and angry fights. For many people who are in this situation, the addiction could be a major factor in a person’s decision to file for divorce.
If you are getting divorced from a spouse who is dealing with an addiction, be it alcohol or video games, there are some important protective measures you should consider taking during the divorce process.
Protecting your children
Certain addictions can impair a person’s judgment and ability to make responsible decisions. In some cases, people may commit crimes like theft or drunk driving; they could spend time with unsafe people; they might ignore responsibilities like going to work or making a healthy dinner to engage in addictive behavior. These can be particularly problematic for a parent, responsible for the care and well-being of their children.
Under these circumstances, it may not be in a child’s best interest to live or spend unsupervised time with that parent. This can lead to bitter, contentious legal battles over custody, especially if the parent doesn’t recognize the addiction or its effect on their parenting.
Protecting your property
Addiction is a powerful disease that can make people feel desperate or unconcerned with the future. As such, they may do anything to support their habit, whether that means depleting a child’s college fund, depleting marital accounts or giving up their job.
These and similar acts can drastically affect the marital assets at stake in a marriage, so it is important to safeguard property and finances. This could mean seeking a protective order, changing security passwords or freezing accounts.
Ending a marriage can be challenging enough without the added complexities of divorcing someone who is struggling with addiction. To avoid getting overwhelmed by feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, resentment or obligation, it is important to take care of yourself so that you can heal and focus on your future.
You might consider speaking with a counselor or therapist, practicing self-care and seeking support from others who have been through a similar experience. With support and the legal protection that you need, it can be a little easier to navigate this difficult time.