Divorcing a Spouse with an Addiction
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.7 million adults in the U.S had a substance abuse disorder in 2017. Millions of other individuals struggle with other types of addictions such as gambling addiction or compulsive shopping.
If you are considering ending your marriage through divorce and your spouse is an addict, you will likely face a more challenging divorce than most. There are certain things you should keep in mind when divorcing a person with a substance abuse or addiction issue so that you can protect yourself both emotionally and financially.
Gather Important Financial Documents
Getting divorced is the end of a romantic relationship but it is also the end of a financial relationship. If you plan to divorce, make sure you collect important financial records including:
- Bank statements;
- Credit card statements;
- Brokerage statements;
- Personal income tax returns;
- Pay stubs;
- Loan applications;
- Documentation of debts;
- Wills, trust documents powers of attorney, and living wills;
- Retirement plan documents and statements;
- Insurance documents; and
- Real estate documents.
You will need these documents to prove you and your spouse’s financial circumstances for the purposes of property division, child support, and spousal maintenance (alimony).
Learn About Dissipation of Assets
Dissipation is a term used to describe the act of wasting or misusing assets. The Illinois Supreme Court has defined dissipation as the "use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown." If your spouse has used marital funds to support his or her addiction, it is possible that you can recover some of these funds. Proving dissipation can be quite difficult, so it is advised that you speak with an attorney if you believe that your spouse has wasted assets in this way.
Get Emotional Support
Being married to someone with an addiction is one of the hardest relationships a person can have. Having supportive people around you during your divorce can help you manage the torrent of emotions and thoughts you will experience during the end of your marriage. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are programs that provide resources and emotional support for families of alcoholics and addicts. A therapist, counselor, or clergy member can also provide valuable support. Many people who have been married to an addict get in the habit of putting their own needs last. It is important to put your own health and wellbeing first when you are getting divorced.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
For help divorcing an addict, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today. We will provide the guidance you need to move on with your life.