Alcohol and drug abuse are issues that affect millions of people across the United States, and substance abuse is often a factor in the breakdown of a marriage. Studies have shown that there are nearly 25 million people in the U.S. who are in a marriage in which a spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict, and around 7% of divorces are the result of substance abuse issues.
If your spouse has issues with substance abuse, you will likely want to do everything you can to help them receive the treatment they need and salvage your relationship. However, sometimes divorce may be the only option, especially if your and your children’s safety and financial security are at risk. If you are planning to divorce a substance-abusing spouse, you should be aware of the following concerns:
Grounds for Divorce in Illinois
While your spouse’s substance use may be one of the primary reasons for the breakdown of your marriage, you do not need to demonstrate this in order to file for divorce. In Illinois, the only reason, or “grounds,” necessary for divorce are irreconcilable differences. A petition for divorce will simply state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and attempts at reconciliation would not be in the family’s best interests. Raising the issue of substance abuse when filing for divorce may only complicate the process, so it is best to speak with your attorney about how to address these issues during the divorce process.
The safety and well-being of children is of paramount importance during divorces involving substance abuse. During and after divorce, both parents will typically be granted parenting time with children, so if you believe your children are at risk while in the care of your ex-spouse, you should take steps to protect their safety. Gather information and evidence demonstrating your spouse’s dangerous or risky behavior regarding your children, and speak to your attorney about whether it would be appropriate to request restrictions on your spouse’s parenting time or ask for them to participate in a rehabilitation program or drug testing as part of your divorce agreement.
Substance abuse can lead to a variety of financial difficulties in a marriage, especially when an alcoholic or drug addicted spouse spends marital funds supporting their addiction or has difficulty maintaining employment. When planning for divorce, you should begin protecting your financial assets by opening your own bank accounts or credit cards, ensuring that you will have the resources you need to support yourself. Speak to your attorney about your spouse’s dissipation of marital assets to support their habits, and be sure to understand how their employment status will affect issues such as spousal maintenance and child support.
Contact a Skokie Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce, and your spouse struggles with substance abuse, the attorneys at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help you understand your rights and work with you to make sure your family’s safety and financial security are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact a Lincolnwood divorce lawyer today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.