Marriages fall apart for all kinds of reasons. Often, couples just grow apart over the years. However, in some cases, there is some kind of catastrophic change or rupture that impacts the marital relationship. Adultery is one example. One spouse developing an addiction is another common reason for divorce.
Addiction comes in many forms. Often it involves chemicals, like alcohol or pain medication. However, it could also involve online gaming, pornography or gambling. Any kind of addiction can have a severe, damaging effect on your marriage. Addiction often comes with one spouse lying to the other and misusing marital resources to support their bad habits.
If you have decided that you have reached your limit and want to file for divorce, there are steps you can take now that will help protect you.
Document as much as you can before you file
No one likes to face the painful reality of their own bad decisions and habits. Some people will go into denial and try to convince themselves and everyone else that they don’t have a problem when facing divorce over an addiction. Others may try to temporarily clean up their act in a desperate ploy to get their spouse back or to convince the court that they don’t have a problem.
To prevent such manipulations from affecting your divorce, it is valuable for you to secure documentation now. Financial records, cell phone videos and police reports can all help substantiate your claims of dangerous or inappropriate behavior.
Take steps to financially protect yourself when you file
People with addictions can often find negative life experiences triggering. You filing for divorce might send your spouse into a spiral of bad choices, which might result in their maxing out your credit card or emptying the savings account. Being proactive about securing and freezing major marital resources when you file to protect them will benefit everyone in your family in the long run.
Get yourself the support you need to feel safe
Having someone close to you lie and make financially devastating decisions that affect your family can traumatize you and affect how you view other people.
You may need to work with professionals, like a counselor, to work through the betrayal you experience because of your spouse’s addiction. You may also want to consider a support group, as there are some available for family members of those with addictive behavior. Addressing your fears and the damage done by your spouse’s behavior can help you make better decisions in the divorce and set you up for healthier relationships in the future.
Deciding to divorce is never easy, but it can be the right decision if your spouse’s addiction puts you at risk.