Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

How Will My Spouse’s Drug or Alcohol Addiction Impact Our Divorce?

 Posted on December 28, 2021 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerSubstance abuse can affect people of any age, gender, or income level. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can take over a person’s life and destroy relationships within a matter of months. If your marriage is ending and your spouse is an alcohol or drug addict, you may wonder if this will affect the divorce process. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so you will not report substance abuse as the grounds for the divorce. However, drug abuse can affect the financial and child-related aspects of divorce.

Drug Use and Child Custody in Illinois

Using legal drugs like cannabis or alcohol does not necessarily prevent someone from being a good parent. However, excessive use of drugs and alcohol – especially use of illicit substances like methamphetamine or heroin – can certainly affect someone’s parenting ability. If you believe that your spouse’s addiction may endanger your child, you may want to petition the court for all of the parental responsibilities and parenting time. Alternatively, you may want to request a parenting time restriction such as supervised parenting time.

Understanding Dissipation of Assets Claims

Illinois courts do not consider marital misconduct when dividing property between spouses. However, a spouse who wastes money prior to divorce may be subject to a “dissipation of assets” claim. Dissipation refers to wasteful or reckless spending or intentional destruction of assets. If your spouse drained the bank accounts or sold property to fund his or her addiction, this may be considered dissipation. If successful, a dissipation of assets claim will require the dissipating spouse to reimburse the marital estate for the lost funds. However, wasteful spending must occur within a certain time frame to count as dissipation.

Personal Challenges When Divorcing a Spouse With an Addiction

Divorce is already challenging. Divorcing someone with an addiction can be even more stressful and complicated. Your spouse’s addiction may make it difficult to discuss divorce issues or reach agreements through negotiations. He or she may refuse to sign paperwork, fail to show up at meetings, or be generally uncooperative. Fortunately, you do not have to face this situation alone. A skilled divorce lawyer can assess your situation and help you determine the best way to move forward. Your attorney’s job is to advocate for your best interests and the best interests of your children and guide you throughout the divorce process.




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