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Divorcing An Alcoholic Or Drug Addict


Many people struggle with alcoholism or drug addiction. Sadly, substance abuse not only affects them, but also their family members. Being married to an alcoholic or addict not in recovery can be a nightmare. As much as you may care for them, filing for divorce may be the only way to protect yourself.

Common Issues When Divorcing An Alcoholic Or Addict

According to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, close to 550,000 people throughout the state struggle with some type of substance abuse disorder. This impacts their physical and emotional health, their relationships with others, and their ability to attain any measure of financial security.

As the spouse of someone suffering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you may have tried every means possible to get them to stop. The reality is they have to want to recover. If they refuse, divorce may become the only option. Few things come easy when dealing with someone in this situation. Common issues you are likely to encounter in divorce include:

  • Their refusal to accept the situation or leave the family home;
  • The inability to locate them in order to serve divorce-related documents;
  • Failure to appear at hearings, divorce mediation, and negotiations with their attorney;
  • Refusal to comply with any final orders or settlements issued in your divorce case.

Your Rights In Divorcing An Alcoholic Or Addict

Under the Virginia Code, alcoholism and drug addiction are not listed as fault grounds for divorce, but it can still impact your rights in divorce proceedings. Your partner’s substance abuse could factor into important matters that must be resolved before a final divorce order can be issued, including:

  • Equitable division of marital property and assets: Home, cars, furnishings, money in financial accounts, and other marital assets are divided on an equitable, not even basis. If your spouse sold or destroyed property and depleted funds due to their addiction, you may be entitled to a larger portion in any final settlements or orders issued.
  • Dividing marital debts: Your spouse may have incurred large amounts of debts. It is important to close all joint accounts and to begin establishing credit in your name as soon as possible. Payment of these debts can be included as part of any final divorce order or you may want to consider bankruptcy for a fresh start.
  • Child time sharing: If your spouse’s alcoholism or addiction poses a risk to your children, we can push for sole custody with limited, supervised visitation.
  • Spousal and child support: You and your children may be entitled to financial support, but your spouse to pay can prove challenging. Enforcement efforts, such as wage garnishment and seizure of benefits or assets in financial accounts, can help.

Let Us Help You Today

At Schwartz Kalina, PLLC., we know how difficult it can be to divorce an alcohol or addict. We are here to help guide you through the process while making sure your rights are protected. Call or contact our Leesburg divorce attorneys online to request a confidential consultation today.

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