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How a spouse’s addiction may affect the divorce process

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2021 | Divorce |

If one person in a marriage in Wisconsin has a substance abuse problem, this could lead to divorce. The complications it can cause in the marriage are often felt throughout the divorce process as well.

Legal and financial repercussions in marriage

If you married someone who struggles with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, some of their legal and financial problems may have already affected you. You may have had to shoulder the burden of fines or other costs your spouse incurred.

Addiction and trust issues

During a divorce, some couples prefer to try to negotiate property division instead of going to court, but this does require that they have some degree of trust. Unfortunately, you may no longer trust your addicted spouse enough to enter these negotiations. This could mean having to go to court where a judge will decide how to divide property.

Addiction and debt

If your spouse has accumulated debt but it is in your name or jointly shared, you could be responsible for it even if your divorce decree says that your spouse is supposed to pay it. Creditors can pursue you for any debt that has your name on it, and it can be difficult to enforce a divorce decree even if your spouse agreed to pay their share. You may want to consider taking a larger share of the assets in exchange for paying more of the debt.

If you have children, there may be additional complications around custody and visitation if one parent struggles with addiction. You may want to discuss these and other issues around substance abuse with your attorney, who might be able to suggest the best strategies for dealing with them during and after the divorce.