Substance Abuse and Divorce

Anyone experiencing a substance abuse problem should consider treatment. Be it alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs, the long terms effects of substance abuse are devastating. If you are actively using while you are going through a divorce proceeding, it will be especially important for you to seek help. This can be a time of severe emotional distress and depression that can trigger increased abuse.

Talk to Your Lawyer

You may think that hiding your substance abuse problem from your lawyer and the court is a good strategy. It is not. Your spouse probably knows about your problem and may have anticipated your denial. Your spouse may have spent time gathering evidence against you prior to filing for divorce and now will be using it to prove that you are not only an addict but that you are also a liar. Consult with your lawyer about the best strategy to deal with this issue. If you don't want to admit your problem even to your lawyer, ask him a hypothetical question using your situation as the basis. Listen carefully to his answer and follow his advice.

Custody and Substance Abuse

If you are actively using or very recently clean and sober, you may not be successful in obtaining custody of your children. Judges have grave concerns about awarding custody or parenting time to a person who is or was recently abusing drugs or alcohol. Instead, they will order supervised visitation to make sure you are clean and sober when you are in contact with the children. Most judges like to see a period of clean time of six months to a year before they will consider awarding custody and lengthy periods of parenting time. This lets you take care of your addiction first before you make parenting your priority, which benefits both you and your children.

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