Going through a divorce is never easy. However, when it comes to divorcing a drug addict, matters can become even more complicated.
The unfortunate reality is that many people suffer from drug addiction in Alabama and throughout the United States. These addictions can impact every facet of someone’s life, including their relationships with their partners. And sometimes, drug addiction can become so pervasive that it causes one party in a relationship to seek divorce.
If you know or suspect that your spouse is suffering from drug addiction and are considering a divorce in Alabama, know that you are not alone. Use our guide below to learn more about the complications associated with divorcing a drug addict in Alabama. Then, call (256) 859-7277 or reach us online to discuss your options with an experienced divorce attorney.
Substance Abuse and Divorce: Is There a Connection?
While there are many reasons for parties to seek a divorce, substance abuse is one of the most common. In one study examining some of the major reasons for divorce, 34.6% of respondents cited substance abuse at the individual level. However, in the majority of these couples, only one partner cited substance abuse as a major contributing factor.
Additionally, many of these couples reported that they tried to address the problem, but the addicted partner would not improve or seek help over time. This resistance to treatment demonstrates just how difficult it can be to navigate a relationship with someone suffering from substance abuse.
Drug Abuse and Divorce Laws in Alabama
Under Alabama Code § 30-2-1, drug addiction can be cited as grounds for a fault-based divorce. The statute specifies drug addiction as “opium, morphine, cocaine, or other like drug.” Thus, the precise type of drug your spouse may be addicted to is immaterial.
Notably, however, to constitute grounds for a fault-based divorce under this section, the individual must have become addicted after the couple was married.
Divorcing a Drug Addict: How Will This Affect My Divorce?
Drug addiction and abuse can significantly impact divorce proceedings in a number of ways.
When it comes to property division, Alabama courts can take into account the misconduct of either spouse in making any determinations as to the appropriate division of marital property. For example, if one spouse’s drug addiction leads them to mismanage the couple’s finances or other marital assets, this may impact the division of property in the divorce in favor of the other spouse.
That said, it’s also possible that one party’s drug addiction could negatively impact the innocent party as a result. This is because courts will consider factors such as the income and earning power of the parties, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial needs of each spouse when making property division and spousal support determinations. Thus, even if one party suffers from drug addiction, the court will nevertheless divide property and order support in an equitable manner.
Child custody is another key area where drug addiction may be considered during a divorce. Alabama courts will consider a variety of factors, but the overarching consideration is determining what will be in the best interest of the child.
In determining what is in the best interest of the child, courts will consider factors such as:
- The mental and emotional health of the child,
- The home environments of the respective parents,
- The ability of the parents to provide a safe and stable home, and
- The overall safety and well-being of the child.
Drug addiction is a serious concern that can affect both the child’s home life and a parent’s ability to adequately supervise, protect, and care for their child. Thus, if evidence is presented that one spouse has a drug addiction that could endanger the child in some way, the court may take this into account. As a result, a judge may limit or place certain restrictions on custody and visitation, and in some cases, the court may award sole custody to the other parent entirely.
Speak with an Alabama Divorce Attorney Today
Divorcing a drug addict is a sensitive topic and often an extremely difficult decision to make. But as challenging as it may be, it’s important to remember to put yourself first and do what is best for you and your children. Sometimes, that may mean putting an end to your marriage—and that’s okay.
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates is here to help you protect what matters most. Contact our team of family law attorneys to discuss your case and see how we can help you through this challenging time.