Sadly, millions of Americans suffer from addictions ranging from prescription medication and OTC drugs to alcohol and illegal drugs. Aside from the health dangers, addiction can tear families apart, many times leading to divorce. If you are an addict or are seeking to divorce a spouse because of their addiction, you need to be aware of how drug addiction can impact the divorce process and who stands to benefit.
Currently, all U.S. states allow spouses to file for divorce on no-fault grounds, generally under the blanket of “irreconcilable differences” meaning that for whatever reason, you and your spouse cannot get along anymore. In a no-fault divorce, you don’t have to provide a reason for the breaking up.
In Texas, you can still file for divorce based on fault grounds. This includes actions such as adultery, intolerable treatment or drug and alcohol abuse. Being able to find fault is important because it gives the sober spouse an upper hand in divorce negotiations and can leave them with more favorable settlement terms.
This is especially true in child custody issues. Courts strongly consider drug and alcohol abuse when allotting custody because it has a direct impact on how a parent is able to manage and provide for their children. Where addiction is present, the addicted parent can be subject to no overnight visits by their children, or that a court-appointed professional is on hand to supervise all visits.
Courts also have the power to demand addicted parents attend alcohol and drug treatment programs and are screened on a regular basis as a requirement to maintain their visitation rights. In some instances, the Court may even go as far as to completely deny all visitation by the addicted parent or terminate rights if it can be proven that the parent is a danger to their children.
Having a lawyer familiar with mental health issues and available treatments is helpful. Contact a Houston family law attorney in our office to learn more.