Addiction doesn’t only hurt the person suffering. It also hurts the people around them, especially their family. A spouse can only do so much before they must learn to let go and let their partner make the decision to fight their addiction on their own. When this happens, it can take a significant toll on the marriage and ultimately lead to divorce.
When someone has an addiction to drugs and alcohol, there can be repercussions in divorce matters as well as child custody agreements. Keep reading to find out how addiction can affect your marriage, divorce, and custody of your child.
The Role of Addiction in a Marriage
When someone suffers from addiction, they may not be able to function in life normally. Drugs or alcohol can cloud a person’s ability to think logically and reasonably, which can cause them to forget about their responsibilities. They prioritize their addiction.
Another problem is the drugs and alcohol can cause the person to behave in manners they wouldn’t do while sober. They may fight and argue more with their spouse. This can lead to them having trouble getting to work on time. They might stop going home and will spend all night out getting drunk or high. They’ll avoid phone calls, thus making it difficult to get a hold of them.
This presents many issues for marriage. If someone gets fired, they may not be able to help support the household. If they go out and no one can find them, everyone will get worried and scared. Children won’t understand why their parent is acting like this. This puts an unfair amount of stress on the rest of their family.
At some point, it can be too much to handle. Because addiction is a disease, you cannot force someone to get better. They have to actively make that choice because it’s what they want. You can be there to support them, but you can only do so much to help.
Unfortunately, people with addictions don’t always want to get better. The need for their drug of choice is so strong that they don’t care about who they hurt in the process. If they do want to get better, it’s not an easy process. The pain, anxiety, and withdrawal can be too much for them, and so they relapse. Often, an addict will want to get better and will try to get sober, but it’s very common to go back to the drugs. This cycle continues over and over.
It’s hard for any family to go through this. It’s devastating watching someone you love hurt themselves. If abuse is involved, it makes it that much worse. Because of this, sometimes the only option is to get away from it. Being around drugs and alcohol can be extremely dangerous. For a parent wanting to protect themselves and their children, a divorce is the best solution.
Protecting Children From Addiction
Going through a divorce is hard enough as it is. It becomes immensely more complicated and the stakes are way higher when children are involved. Naturally, every parent wants to be there for their children. However, addiction can make this difficult.
Parents with addiction cannot provide a stable and safe home for their children. Drugs and alcohol impair your ability to think clearly. It’s common for a parent with a substance abuse addiction to not be able to care for their child due to a lack of money, substances being present in the home, or from being intoxicated while watching the children. It’s dangerous.
Because of this, courts have to carefully consider these factors when making custody decisions. In these cases, a judge may limit the amount of time one parent can spend with the children or take away visitation privileges altogether. If this happens to you, it's important not to give up. Children don't understand why a parent can't be there for them. They simply know that one parent wasn't there.
For parents battling addiction, it's extremely important to get clean and stay out of trouble immediately. The judge may order drug tests. You want to be able to pass the drug test on request at any time. Being clean can help you get a job, too. Once you are clean and have a good job, you will be able to go back to court to get visitation or joint custody.
Children deserve a clear-headed and responsible parent. When one parent isn't able to provide this, it will really hurt them when they have to go to court. Additionally, if your ex-spouse is suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, you need to be sure that your child’s best interest is coming first. The Suffolk divorce attorneys at Bush & Taylor are here to help you during this difficult situation. We will be you and your child’s advocate and protect your rights throughout the process.
Call Bush & Taylor, P.C. today at (757) 926-0078 if you need assistance protecting your family during your divorce.