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Divorce and Drug Addiction: Legal and Emotional Challenges

By Nottage and Ward on November 30, 2023

Even under the best circumstances, divorce is a painful and difficult process. If your spouse suffers from drug addiction, things become a lot more complicated. The instability that results from drug addiction may threaten the safety and well-being of you and your children. Drug addiction frequently causes financial issues, and this may be an issue when making decisions about asset division and spousal support.

To protect yourself, your children, and your financial future, it’s important to work with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer who fully appreciates the significance of these issues and the various pitfalls you are facing. Your attorney will advise you on the best strategy moving forward.

Divorce Issues Caused by Drug Addiction

Neglect, abuse, and violence are valid concerns when one of the spouses in a divorce suffers from addiction. The court will take this into account when determining an equitable distribution of assets and determining what living arrangement is in the best interest of the child or children.

Issues involved in a divorce proceeding that may be impacted by a spouse’s drug issue include:

  • Allocation of parental responsibility. If your spouse is addicted to drugs, it calls into question their ability to care for a child. Drug addiction is a valid reason to limit or deny the allocation of parental responsibility. A judge may request that a social worker review the situation to make sure your children are safe. In these cases, the court may require supervision and other restrictions.
  • Division of assets. Drug addiction frequently causes financial difficulties. It’s often difficult for a person who is suffering from addiction to maintain gainful employment. A drug addict may spend significant amounts of money to support their habit. This often leads to dissipation of funds as the addicted spouse runs up debt, empties bank accounts, and sells off marital assets. One spouse may be required to reimburse the other as part of asset distribution.
  • Spousal support. A person addicted to drugs may have difficulty living up to an agreed-upon spousal support arrangement. Or, it may cause serious complications if you are providing spousal support to someone who is addicted to drugs. They may be using the money they receive to support their habit instead of maintaining a household and caring for children.

Your Divorce and Family Law Attorney Can Protect You

If you are going through a divorce with a spouse suffering from drug addiction, it’s important to have an experienced Chicago divorce and family law attorney by your side who understands the law and knows how to protect you and your children. Your lawyer can negotiate an arrangement designed to shield your assets and provide a safe environment for your children.

If your spouse is squandering marital assets, or if you are currently in an unsafe situation, your attorney can take immediate legal action to protect you and your children from harm. At any time during the divorce process, your attorney may file a petition for a temporary relief order. There will be a hearing, and the judge may decide to issue an order that will remain in effect until completion of the divorce process.

A temporary relief order may include the following provisions:

  • Exclusion of a spouse from the family residence
  • Debt repayment
  • Exclusive possession of property, such as a car, home, and other assets
  • Prohibiting financial transactions
  • Preventing attempts to hide assets
  • Creating a temporary parenting schedule
  • Temporary spousal support

Protecting Yourself and Your Children

If your spouse is struggling with addiction, this can cause considerable stress for you and your children. Your divorce and family law attorney can help you through these difficult times and recommend precautions to secure your assets and protect yourself and your loved ones from emotional harm. This may include:

  • Changing PIN numbers
  • Separating accounts
  • Moving valuables to a secure location
  • Seeking psychological counseling
  • Engaging in active self-care

Safeguarding Your Rights in a Chicago Divorce

For over 30 years, the Chicago divorce and family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP, have been helping families thrive. We negotiate and help resolve complex issues so you and your loved ones can enjoy a bright and healthy future.

Call (312) 332-2915 to learn more today.

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