Regrettably, alcohol and drug addiction is often times one of the many issues that push couples to get a divorce. In some situations, one of the spouses may be so incapacitated that the other spouse is forced to seek emergency relief from the Courts to protect their safety and the safety of the children.
At Durden & Mills, PC, we have experience assisting parties with navigating the divorce / child custody process for the sober parent, as well as the parent struggling with an addiction. While an alcohol or drug addiction can wreak havoc on any marriage and can temporarily limit a parent’s access to their children, the Courts typically favor reunification once the impaired parent can get sober.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 or older need substance use treatment (i.e., treatment for problems related to the use of alcohol or illicit drugs), or about 1 in 12 people (8.1 percent). (NSDUH, 2015) The United States is currently in an addiction epidemic. Drugs and alcohol are easier to come by and people are dealing with overwhelming amounts of stress with substance abuse.
Other than adultery, addition is one of the most destructive and damaging things that spouses can go through together. Getting assistance in learning how to navigate the difficult process of helping a loved one while they are struggling with an addiction takes a lot of work and dedication to the relationship. In these situations, it is important to avoid enabling your spouse to continue in their destructive behavior. Avoid helping cover up your spouses problem as that ultimately will usually hurt them more in the long term. When a spouse is suffering from an addiction, the marriage is typically going to experience significant financial strain as the impaired spouse is generally less efficient at work and more likely to make poor financial decisions. Alcohol and drugs also tend to impair the ability of spouses to communicate effectively regarding their issues. This at times can result in domestic violence even in relationships where it was never present before.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes proceeding with divorce is required in particularly difficult situations. Although it is never a fun thing to watch, it is commonly said that some addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can recover and losing their family can be a hard wake-up call. While difficult, the divorce will likely bring about significant opportunities for healing and growth. To protect the children, sometimes supervised visitation is implemented or a requirement for the impaired parent to be subject to random drug and alcohol screens.
If you want to discuss the possibility of a divorce or custody case involving an impaired parent, please call the Divorce and Child Custody attorneys at Durden & Mills, PC to schedule a free consultation. Call us at (706) 543-4708 and we’ll be happy to meet with you.