Issues You Should Be Aware of When Divorcing an Alcoholic Spouse

Illinois divorce attorneyAccording to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), over 15 million adults in the United States suffer from an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse can be a major factor in divorce; studies have shown that people with an alcohol use disorder in either the past or present are more likely to get divorced.

Alcoholism can greatly complicate a divorce, so if your spouse has an alcohol use disorder, you should be aware of the following issues:

Fault During Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the only grounds necessary for divorce are irreconcilable differences. While a spouse’s alcohol abuse may be one of the reasons the relationship is ending, it is not necessary to demonstrate an alcohol addiction during divorce proceedings. In some cases, doing so may only complicate the case and cause lengthy and costly court battles. Be sure to speak with your attorney about the best approach to take before bringing up your spouse’s alcohol abuse in court.

Financial Issues

A spouse who struggles with alcohol abuse can often cause a great deal of financial difficulty in a relationship, including wasting money, loss of employment, and the costs of treatment or rehabilitation. When divorcing an alcoholic spouse, you should be aware of whether your spouse is dissipating marital assets to feed their addiction, how any loss of employment will affect the determination of child support and/or spousal maintenance, and whether you will be required to contribute to any of their treatment costs. Your attorney will be able to help you understand your rights and obligations in these matters and advocate for your rights in court.

Child Safety

If you believe that your spouse’s alcohol abuse presents a danger to your children, you may wish to take certain actions to protect your children’s safety, including asking for a psychological evaluation or petitioning the court to limit your spouse’s parenting time or require supervision. Judges will consider the best interests of the child when making decisions, and it is presumed that spending time with both parents in in children’s best interests, so if you wish to restrict your spouse’s parenting time, you will need to provide evidence that your children’s physical, mental, or emotional health is at risk. Your attorney can advise you on the best steps to take as you look to ensure that your children are safe.

Contact a Hinsdale Divorce Lawyer

Whether you are considering divorcing an alcoholic spouse or have already begun the divorce process, you need an experienced attorney on your side to advocate for your best interests and your children’s safety. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free consultation.


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