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What to Do When Your Spouse Has an Addiction

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2019 | Family Law

When a spouse is battling addiction in Indiana and drug or alcohol abuse takes a toll on a marriage, divorce may be the only option for relief. Substance abuse issues can have an impact on child custody. Therefore, careful preparation and evidence collection are key to obtaining a successful outcome.

Spousal Addiction and Divorce

Spousal addiction plays a significant role in divorce. Since addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription medications often creates problems within the family that lead to divorce, addiction may impact the outcome of child custody. When a divorce involves spousal addiction, the sober spouse usually has an upper hand in negotiations and court decisions.

Indiana is a no-fault divorce state. In a no-fault divorce, one spouse is not required to prove that the other spouse did something to cause the divorce. However, even in no-fault divorce, evidence of substance abuse may still be introduced as evidence that can impact child custody.

Child Custody

Courts take substance abuse very seriously when determining custody because addiction has a big impact on parenting behaviors and abilities. While drug and alcohol addiction is nothing new to Indiana family law attorneys, the recent increase in illicit drug use and the national opioid crisis have shed even more light on the way substance abuse issues impact child-rearing abilities and children’s futures. Since drug and alcohol abuse can result in impaired decision-making abilities, mood changes, violence, and the inability to respond in an emergency, parents who abuse illegal drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol are rarely successful in child custody cases.

To protect the children, the addicted parent may be awarded supervised visitation, but no overnight privileges. The court may require the addicted parent to submit to periodic alcohol and/or drug testing, substance abuse meetings, and addiction treatments. In cases that involve child injuries due to addiction, the court may award full custody of the children to the sober parent, with no visitation privileges, or even termination of the addicted parent’s custodial rights.

When a divorce involves spousal addiction, the addicted parent may face serious repercussions, even criminal charges. A family law attorney can provide a legal strategy that protects the best interests of the children in child custody cases.