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Divorcing an Addict in Tennessee

Addiction places an incredible strain on a marriage and there are some important considerations if it leads to divorce.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol does not only affect the person suffering from it, but the entire family. For many, the problem may become so difficult that it results in the end of a marriage. Substance abuse does provide grounds for divorce in Tennessee, but there are certain factors you must take into consideration when divorcing an addict.

Find Support

You may have watched your spouse struggle with their addiction and it can lead you to thinking they are the only one hurting from it. That is not true. Addiction is difficult for everyone, particularly spouses of the addict. You may have spent the last few months or years taking on more responsibilities as your spouse took on less, lying to your children about your spouse’s addiction, and overcompensating for your spouse. All of this takes a toll and just as your spouse needs to talk to someone about their addiction, so do you. Find a support group or therapist that you can talk to and that can help you through this difficult time.

Make New Living Arrangements

Again, addiction can make your living arrangements extremely uncomfortable, and the safety of you and your children may also be at risk. You may need to find new living arrangements even before you start the divorce process. When determining where you will live, you will need to consider many factors including whether you own your home, the custody arrangements you are seeking, and whether your spouse has access to alternative living arrangements.

Start Thinking About Child Custody

Addiction can place a child’s safety in jeopardy. Even if your spouse would never intentionally hurt your children, even while intoxicated, substance abuse can cause people to pass out or exercise bad judgment while they are caring for children, which could negatively impact the kids. The safety of your children is the most important factor when a judge is making decisions about child custody and if your spouse has a problem with addiction, that could work in your favor.

Property Division Issues in Divorce

Property division is just one of the many legal issues that will need to be resolved during your divorce. Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means property in divorce is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. A judge will take many factors into consideration when dividing marital property, including whether one spouse spent marital funds recklessly due to an addiction. If it is found that your spouse did spend a significant amount of marital funds on their addiction, a judge will likely award you more in other property to compensate for that fact.

Speak to a Tennessee Family Lawyer

No one should ever go through divorce without the help of a Franklin family lawyer, but this is particularly true when you are divorcing an addict. I am Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law, and I can fully explain how your spouse’s addiction will affect court decisions in your case, provide an overview of legal protections for you and your children, and if necessary, help you plan a safe exit strategy. Call me today at 615-791-8511 or contact me online to arrange a consultation so I can review your case.