How Addictions Affect Divorce

The causes of divorce are complicated and vary from couple to couple. One factor that ends many relationships is addiction. When a spouse has an alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction it puts an emotional and financial strain on a marriage. When a couple decides it is time for a divorce, the effects of addiction do not go away.

Money Spent on Addictions May Affect Property Division

Judges in Illinois are charged with dividing the marital property equitably. Therefore, a judge must look at all the factors in an individual marriage and decide what would be fair, but not necessarily equal.

If one party has spent money or wasted assets that were part of the marital estate on things such as large amounts of alcohol, drugs, or gambling, a judge can take that into account when splitting the property.

One spouse can file what is called a dissipation claim. This means that one spouse is accusing the other of selfishly spending marital money or assets on items unrelated to the marriage. Many dissipation cases are rooted in the addictions of one the spouses.

Custody, Parenting Time and Addiction

While addictions can be expensive to both feed and to treat, often the real cost of addictions is the relationships inside of the family. When Illinois judges make decisions about where children should live and how much the children should see each parent, they are required to make decision based on the best interests of the child.

Often, a parent in the throes of addiction is not a fit parent. He or she is not able to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Hence, a parent with an addition problem may only be granted carefully supervised parenting time, or may not get to see his or her children at all.

The courts recognize that when possible, it is best for children to have close relationships with both parents. Even in cases where a parent is not allowed to be with his or her child due to issues of addiction, if the circumstances change in that parent’s life, he or she can petition for some parenting time.

When a court reconsiders an existing order, it will be up to the parent asking for the change to show that the changes are in the best interests of the children.

If you have questions about any family law issues including divorce, custody, or support, you need advice from a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyer with experience dealing with local courts. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation today.