What Should I Do If I Want a Divorce and My Wife Has an Addiction?

 Posted on June 16, 2021 in Dealing With Your Ex

divorce lawyerWhether an addiction involves illicit substances, prescription medication, gambling, or even compulsive shopping, the addiction impacts the entire family. If you are a father and your wife is currently struggling with substance abuse or other addictive behaviors, you know firsthand just how impossible the situation can feel. On the one hand, you want to ensure that your children grow up in a safe, healthy home. On the other hand, you feel like divorcing your wife will leave her feeling abandoned or even lead to further destructive behavior.  

Only you can know for sure if divorce is right for you and your children. If you are ready to get divorced, keep the following factors in mind.

The Children’s Safety Has to Come First

For many families struggling with addiction, the addiction is often the “elephant in the room.” Everyone pretends as if the addicted person’s behavior is normal. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem will not make it go away. When children are involved, downplaying the negative consequences of the addiction may even be deadly. If your child’s mother has an alcohol or drug addiction and you have reason to believe that she is not capable of keeping your children safe, do not leave your children with alone with her. As much as it may break your heart, your children’s safety has to be the priority. This may mean that you will need to petition the court for sole custody of the children both during and after the divorce.  

Protecting Your Finances is Paramount

Addiction can absolutely devastate a couple’s finances. As a father going through a divorce, protecting your finances should be one of your top concerns. Start with keeping a close eye on your bank accounts and valuable possessions. Sadly, addiction can sometimes make people act in ways that they would never consider acting under normal circumstances. This may include selling property or even items of great sentimental value without consulting their spouse, draining bank accounts, and lying about money.

You may need to get a court order to freeze your accounts and limit the financial transactions you and your wife can make during the divorce process. You may also need to move valuables to a safe location, change your online banking passwords, and get a new PIN number for your debit cards. In some cases, transferring assets during a divorce can constitute “hiding assets,” so it is essential to get personalized advice from a divorce lawyer in your state about how best to protect your finances from an addict spouse.

You Do Not Have to Face This Alone

Divorcing a spouse suffering from an addiction is likely to be one of the most difficult things you and your children ever face. Remember, you do not have to go through this alone. Work with a divorce attorney who has experience handling divorce and child custody cases involving addiction. Reach out to a counselor, therapist, religious leader, or mentor for encouragement. Look into support groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, which are designed specifically for people in your situation.

Call a Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorcing someone with an addiction is not like other divorce cases. You need a strong legal advocate to guide you through the process and protect your children’s best interests. An experienced family law attorney can help you explore your legal options and choose the course of action that is right for you. Your lawyer can help you with property division, child custody, child support, and a range of other divorce issues. Reach out today for help.


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