Sadly, in divorce situations, it is common for one spouse or the other to have some type of addiction to either a substance or a behavior. Addiction and divorce are difficult issues for the courts and the parties to resolve. Different approaches are used depending on which spouse is the client.
Representing the Non-Addicted Spouse
Often, one of the first things that needs to be done is to apply for and get a restraining order. If need be, a protective order may follow if the addicted spouse’s behavior has escalated to family violence. The court has many options when it comes to orders for the addicted spouse to follow when children are involved. Some choices include:
- Testing for various substances. This includes possible urinalysis, hair follicle and/or nail tests to determine the level of alcohol or controlled substances in the addicted spouse’s system. Alcohol consumption can be best detected through an EtG urine test.
- Ordering the addicted spouse to rehab or intensive out-patient programs.
- Ordering the addicted spouse to go to 90 AA or NA meetings in 90 days, often referred to as “90 in 90”.
- Ordering supervised visits with the children or ordering that any visitation be conditioned on the completion of certain recovery-oriented acts and clean drug or alcohol test results.
It is often important for the non-addicted spouse to attend Al-Anon and for the children to attend Alateen. In a family affected by addiction, it is common for the focus to be on the addicted spouse and their actions, instead of the healthy functioning of the family as a whole. These support programs for families help re-direct the focus to help heal the hurt caused by addictive behavior.
Representing the Addicted Spouse
Clients who are addicted are advised to stop whatever substance or behavior they are dependent upon. If they are drinking too much, they need to stop. If they routinely smoke marijuana, which is not legal in Texas, they need to stop. Sex or pornography addicts need to stop. In order to stop, most people need help because it is too difficult to stop on their own. Those who are willing to admit they have a problem and who seek help will be much more likely to impress the Judge as opposed to those who deny they have a problem and refuse help.
Addiction is not something to ignore. For More Information About Addiction and Divorce, Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney.