Attorney Todd Dwire speaking with staff member in conference room

We See The Big Picture In Family Law

You may need to divorce if an addicted spouse doesn’t want help

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2020 | Divorce |

If you and your spouse got married in a traditional ceremony with vows, you may have promised to stay together through good and bad health, good and bad financial circumstances and all of the ups and downs of life. However, your willingness to handle life’s complications with your spouse may end where their responsibility for causing those problems begins.

Some people marry someone who has hidden their addiction throughout their dating life and courtship. Other people marry someone who isn’t an addict when they get married but who eventually succumbs to temptation later in life.

If your spouse has a chemical dependence on drugs or alcohol, if they compulsively shop or if they can’t help themselves with gambling, there may come a time where filing for divorce is the best solution for you as the spouse feeling terrified by their spouse’s addiction and its impact on the family.

You can’t change someone unless they really want help

The hardest thing for people to understand about addiction is that it isn’t something people choose. Addiction is often the result of a combination of mental health issues, like trauma, as well as a genetic predisposition.

Although people don’t choose to struggle with addiction, they can choose to get better. They have to recognize that they have an issue and fight for their own improvement. While some couples can bounce back from addiction, it requires the work of both spouses and the dedication of the person struggling with addiction to make that work. It is not something you can do alone on behalf of your spouse.

If your spouse isn’t willing to accept treatment, if they constantly downplay how serious their issue is or if their problem has started causing issues for your whole family, possibly by bringing crime into your house or by diminishing your financial resources unexpectedly, you may have to take steps to protect yourself and any children you share.

Your spouse doesn’t have to agree for you to get a divorce

If your spouse isn’t ready to acknowledge that they have an addiction issue, they may also not feel very accepting of your wish to divorce them. The good news is that only one person needs to consent to a divorce in Minnesota.

Even if your spouse is currently incarcerated, you can initiate proceedings to dissolve your marriage. Doing so can help protect you from the financial repercussions of addiction and might even motivate your ex to get the help that they truly need.


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