A Spouse’s Substance Abuse Could Affect Your Divorce

A Spouse’s Substance Abuse Could Affect Your Divorce

Problems with substance abuse are a common factor in divorce cases. If you are divorcing a spouse who has an addiction or frequently abuses drugs or alcohol, it is important to understand how this will affect the strategies you use in your divorce.

New York is one of the states that still allows you to file for fault-based divorce, and drug or alcohol abuse is one of the grounds allowed in fault-based cases. Here’s an overview of how substance abuse will affect your divorce strategy.

Effects on child custody

Substance abuse will most heavily affect the results of your child custody arrangements. Moderate drinking will not affect your custody arrangement, but if you have a drinking habit that affects your parental ability or use drugs recreationally, you are significantly less likely to win physical custody of your child, and will likely face restrictions to your visitation as well.

As an add-on to your visitation rules, courts may require you to regularly submit to drug and alcohol tests, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and to receive other forms of treatment.

Effects on asset division

Some courts will not consider fault in the division of a marital asset, but there are some cases in which substance abuse will play a role in a judge’s decision about how much of the marital property each spouse will receive. There is always a possibility that the court will choose to award a larger share of that property to the spouse without the substance abuse problems, especially if the substance abuse had a negative impact on the couple’s finances during the marriage.

Effects on alimony

Addiction and substance abuse will most commonly affect alimony in circumstances in which the spouse’s addiction harmed the couple’s finances during the marriage. In such a case, a judge could award extra alimony to the sober spouse.

If you could use sound legal guidance as you approach a divorce, meet with a dedicated Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.

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