Attorney Todd Dwire speaking with staff member in conference room

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3 ways a spouse’s alcoholism can impact your divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Divorce |

Maybe both you and your spouse were wild when you were younger and bonded over your love of craft beers or dance clubs. After getting married, you started to think about the future and reduced your alcohol consumption, but your spouse remains stuck in that alcohol-centered culture.

On the other hand, perhaps your spouse was not a drinker when you initially married, but they seem to have developed an issue later in life. Having a spouse with an addiction to or dependence on alcohol will affect every aspect of your life.

What impact does someone’s alcohol addiction have on a divorce?

It increases their chance of divorcing

When someone struggles with alcohol addiction, their risk of getting divorced is substantially higher than the divorce risk that other people have. Although the average adult has a roughly 30% chance of  divorce, the rate is more than 150% higher for those with diagnosable alcohol use disorder. Those with alcoholism have a 48.3% chance of eventually divorcing.

It can complicate custody matters

Children are often one of the main reasons that someone worried about substance abuse issues may decide to leave a spouse. Worrying about your partner driving drunk with the children in the car or passing out while alone with your infant might convince you that divorce and possibly sole custody would be what is best for your children.

When someone has endangered their children or abused them because of an alcohol issue, a family law judge may agree that limiting their parenting time is the best option for the family.

It can alter property division decisions

The way that you divide your property reflects your contributions to the household and your earning potential. However, you may also need to consider wasteful spending on the part of either spouse.

Especially if someone with a drinking problem has a secret credit card that allowed them to hide their trips to the bar or their decision to purchase entire cases of wine, those wasteful financial actions could influence either how a judge divides a couple’s property or the outcome of their negotiations about property division.

Those who are planning to divorce because of a spouse’s drinking problem will likely worry about how the divorce will affect their spouse’s drinking habits. The truth is that you will have no control over what they do. Taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your children will need to come first if you decide to divorce because of your spouse’s alcohol problem.


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