Divorce, a significant life event, involves several complex emotions and decisions. In Texas, the factors leading to the dissolution of marriage can greatly influence the outcome of the divorce proceedings.
One such factor, a substance abuse disorder, can play a pivotal role in the process and its outcome. The Texas Health and Human Services reported that in 2020, over 11.3 million people struggled with a substance abuse disorder. Understanding how addiction affects a divorce can help you better navigate this trying time.
Child custody and visitation rights
The primary consideration in determining child custody is the best interest of the child. If one parent struggles with addiction, the court might deem that parent unfit to have primary custody. It is not uncommon for the non-addicted parent to receive primary or sole custody, while the addicted parent might face supervised visitation or even no visitation rights, especially if the addiction poses a direct threat to the child’s well-being.
Division of assets
Texas follows the community property model, which means the court usually divides marital assets equally between spouses. However, if one spouse has misused marital funds to support their addiction – for example, by buying drugs or alcohol or paying for rehab – the court might consider this when dividing assets. You could find that the division leans more towards the non-addicted spouse to compensate for the use of marital resources.
If drug or alcohol addiction has hindered one spouse’s ability to work or maintain steady employment, the non-addicted spouse might need to pay spousal support, even if temporarily. However, the court will also consider if the addicted spouse used marital funds for their addiction, which might reduce or offset the support amount.
Grounds for divorce
While Texas allows for no-fault divorce, which means neither party has to prove wrongdoing, addiction can serve as grounds for divorce under the “cruelty” category if one spouse believes the other’s addiction has made living together insupportable.
Divorce proceedings, when complicated by drug and alcohol addiction, can become more intricate and emotionally charged. Understanding how addiction affects the various components of a divorce will equip you to make informed decisions during this challenging period.