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3 ways substance abuse affects a divorce outcome

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Family Law

Substance addiction affects much more than the person with the problem.

In a marriage, it may lead to developing negative coping mechanisms, financial problems and more issues that increase the chances of divorce. During the process, that addiction may also impact the outcome of the divorce.

1. Changes to asset division

The courts look at many factors while determining an equitable distribution of marital assets, such as property, savings and investments. Although an addiction in itself may not impact the division of assets, the addicted spouse’s use of marital assets might play a role. If the substance abuser used up savings to fund their addiction, the court may rule that the sober spouse gets additional assets as a reimbursement for the depleted funds. Additionally, it may also result in a different division of property.

2. Increases in spousal support

Every divorce has its unique set of circumstances. The courts follow strict laws when determining the allowance of alimony, taking into account an array of factors. While spousal support comes with no guarantee, courts that award it may also take substance abuse into consideration. The misuse of marital assets for addiction may increase the amount of spousal support paid to the sober spouse.

3. Benefits during negotiations

If the courts have sufficient evidence of addiction problems, the non-sober spouse faces a much bigger battle. Since people often do not want their problems hashed out in public, negotiations often come much easier for the sober spouse.

Couples who have children face an even greater challenge when it comes to addiction and child custody. The courts take addiction seriously, which may lead to loss of visitation rights.


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