Español | Français | Português
Call us today: UT: 801-884-3775   TX: 469-552-5992

Divorce and drug addiction.

How It All Starts 

Addiction can become a risk for anyone who’s struggling with a difficult time—and divorce is usually a difficult time for most people.  This can mean that addictions are more likely to develop during the divorce process. Of course, not everyone develops an addiction during or after the divorce.  Usually, a person attempts to heal the pain of the divorce by escaping into a substance or behavior. For example, playing video games to escape from the pain of divorce, or drinking away sadness. When people continuously engage in these behaviors as a coping mechanism, it can cause them to develop an addiction—even if the behavior or substance isn’t inherently addictive. People with addictive personalities, people who have family members who struggle with addiction, and people who have suffered from past addictions, may be more vulnerable to these behavioral patterns during the divorce process. 

Signs of Addiction 

Of course there are obvious signs of a physical addiction. But there are also behaviors and circumstances that can indicate that something is amiss. The biggest indication that someone is addicted is that they’re shirking responsibilities in pursuit of their addiction. A person who’s addicted to an illegal substance may struggle to keep up at work because they’re meeting up with dealers to get their fix. Or a person who’s suffering from a pornography addiction may be unable to show up to work on time. Sometimes, people who are suffering from addictions that involve mind-altering substances become too intoxicated to function normally which can make it difficult for them to perform normal everyday tasks such as going to work or taking care of household chores. Different substances and behaviors have different signs of addiction. However, the inability to function normally is generally a pretty good indication. 

Preventing an Addiction 

Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent beginning an addiction during the divorce process—and this is very important for people who are recovered from an addiction or are currently recovering from addiction. Make sure you attend regular meetings with a licensed mental health professional. Reading personal development books and attending support groups can help, but they’re best used in combination with a licensed mental health professional. Therapy can help you develop healthy and productive coping skills during the divorce process. This way, when you’re dealing with feelings that are overwhelming, you’re able to cope with them in a healthy way, instead of turning to substances or counterproductive behaviors. If you are recovered or currently recovering, it’s important to attend a support group that’s designed specifically to provide support for those who have recovered from addiction or are trying to recover from addiction. Avoiding drugs and alcohol during this time may also help prevent an addiction from developing. 

When Your Spouse Is Struggling 

If your spouse is struggling with an addiction, you may need to take action in order to keep yourself and your children safe. Addictions can be expensive, so it’s important to make sure that your spouse does not open a credit card account in your name. You may also need to get a checking account that they do not have access to and switch your paychecks over to that account—this way, they cannot take all of your money. If your spouse is unable to survive without financial assistance, you may need to contact an attorney about the best way to financially support them during the separation without giving them access to everything you have. You may also want to keep an eye on your joint financial accounts to ensure your spouse isn’t racking up debt or taking out large amounts of money. They may also purchase goods to sell or trade to support their addiction. Lastly, if you have children, and you’re concerned about your spouse’s ability to effectively parent your children, you may need to contact an attorney about what you can do to protect your children. 

DCFS and Drug Addiction 

Generally speaking, parents who want to be involved with their children’s lives are given every opportunity to do so. Usually, this means that the parent doesn’t lose custody of the kids the instant addiction is alleged. If the alleged drug use is supported by facts and evidence and the drug of choice is a controlled substance, the court will often order drug testing to determine whether there is an issue with substance abuse. Even if you’re able to provide proof that your spouse is struggling with an addiction, the courts may not act immediately, or take the action you’d like them to take. However, it’s not good for children to watch their parents abuse substances and be too intoxicated to function. If a parent is too intoxicated to effectively parent, and/or repeatedly puts the child in dangerous situations due to their addiction, getting help is crucial to preventing the child from sustaining additional trauma. In the event that a parent is using controlled substances, particularly when they have possession of the child, the court will likely intervene to ensure the safety of the child. Parents should also be aware that if they know of the other parent’s issues with substance abuse and fail to protect their child from it, they could also be found by the state to be neglectful in failure to protect the child. If your spouse is struggling with an addiction, and you’re concerned about them having custody, you may need to speak with a family law attorney to resolve this issue and help ensure the safety of your family. If this is an issue you’re currently dealing with, contact CoilLaw today to get started with an initial consultation. 


How to Survive and Thrive When Your Marriage Ends

Learn More