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When does divorcing an addicted spouse make sense?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2020 | Divorce

When you married your spouse, you likely focused on their wit, looks or charm. If they enjoyed drinking or recreational drug use, you may have dismissed these behaviors if you were otherwise head over heels. Yet, their substance use may have morphed into substance abuse over the years. And it might now outweigh all their good qualities.

You may consider sticking by your spouse as they battle their addiction. But in some cases, it may spell the end of your marriage. Since addiction is one of the leading causes of divorce, it’s important to remember you’re not alone if you pursue this route.

Your spouse has frequent relapses

Your spouse may have made earnest attempts at sobriety, and they may have even completed rehab. Yet, after periods of sobriety, they may tend to relapse into addictive behaviors. Supporting and encouraging an addict’s sobriety can prove physically, emotionally and financially draining, especially if it’s temporary. If it leaves you without reservoirs of strength to draw upon, it may be time for you to replenish them on your own.

Your presence enables your spouse

You may have threatened to leave your spouse in the past when their addiction spiraled out of control. Yet, you likely never followed through on your words. You might keep cleaning up their messes, too, or bail them out when their addiction leads to financial or legal trouble. In these cases, you may be enabling your spouse’s addictive behaviors. And by continuing to pick up the pieces for them, they may never take accountability for their actions.

You have children together

If you have children, your spouse’s addiction could set a poor example for them. At worst, it could endanger them. Unless your spouse has committed to recovery and sobriety, divorce may prove the most reasonable option. While your children can still have a relationship with their addicted parent, it is likely safer for them if it happens outside their main home. And if your spouse receives visitation privileges, they may come with caveats, like mandated supervision or no overnight visits.

Many marriages can survive addiction. But your spouse’s unique challenges may make sticking together untenable. In this case, a family attorney can help you determine a path forward.