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How Substance Abuse Impacts Divorce Proceedings

Wife considers divorce due to her husband's substance abuse problem and wonders how a Chicago divorce attorney can help her.

There are numerous reasons why marriages fail. Basic incompatibility, built-up resentments or frustrations, and outside influences can all escalate to the point where divorce becomes the only reasonable option. In cases in which your spouse is experiencing alcohol or drug problems, all of these issues may come into play. Substance abuse takes a heavy toll on your family and can be a major issue when getting a divorce in Illinois. The following outlines some of the common signs to look for and ways it can impact these proceedings. 

Signs Your Spouse May Have a Problem

Dealing with a spouse who has a substance abuse order can create havoc in every area of your life. In some cases, there may be obvious outward signs that a spouse is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. In others, symptoms are less obvious. Addicts and alcoholics will typically go to great lengths to make excuses and hide the problem. They may also be in denial regarding how serious their drug or alcohol use is. According to Helpline, common signs to look for include: 

  • Unexplained changes in their behavior. They may become more isolated, moody, and withdrawn. 
  • Problems in your relationship. Substance abuse can create marital problems where none previously existed. Your spouse may lose their temper more easily or make accusations about you trying to control them. 
  • Legal problems: Your spouse may get ticketed for minor crimes or face arrest for drunk driving, drug possession, and other charges. 
  • Financial problems: A substance-abusing spouse can quickly drain the family finances and accrue large amounts of debt. Their behavior can also result in demotions and loss of jobs.  

Divorcing an Alcoholic or a Drug Addict

While you may want to help a spouse struggling with substance abuse, you also need to look out for your own and your children’s safety. Depending on the situation, divorce may be the best option. Under the Illinois Statutes, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse is no longer considered grounds for divorce. However, the ways it can impact your case include: 

  • Marital property and asset division: If your spouse has accumulated debt or destroyed property due to their addiction, you may be entitled to a larger share.
  • Alimony: If there has been significant depletion of assets or if you previously relied on their income, your spouse may be ordered to pay alimony.
  • Child time-sharing: If your spouse’s behavior endangers your children, this could impact their rights in parenting plans.

Reach Out to Our Chicago Divorce Attorneys

When divorcing a spouse with substance abuse issues, the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group can help to protect your rights and safety. To request a consultation, call or contact our Chicago area divorce attorneys online today.

There are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, and a pre-divorce planning session can help you begin to plan for a divorce. Please contact the professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group by calling (312) 585-6604 or clicking here to schedule a consultation.

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Contact Information

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office
Fax:312-283-8636
Lake Forest Office
Fax:312-283-8636
Lisle Office
Fax:312-283-8636
Lake Forest Office

100 Saunders Rd.
Suite 150

Lake Forest, IL 60045

Lisle Office

3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200

Lisle, IL 60532

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office

77 W. Wacker Drive
45th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

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