The Relationship Between Addiction and Divorce

“Until death do you part….” can be particularly difficult when you are married to an addict who denies their problems, or refuses to seek treatment.  Addiction has a wide range of consequences, from financial costs to the loss of trust.  Unfortunately, if you have been in the marriage for a long time, you have probably become an enabler.  You may want to stay in the marriage, but that may only make it more difficult for your spouse to get the treatment he or she needs.  You may be reluctant to pursue a divorce because of fears for your safety or the safety of your children. Or you may worry that separating your spouse and your children will be harmful for both of them.

Mental health experts acknowledge that divorce or the threat of divorce can lead to desperate or irrational behavior by an addict, but some also believe that it can often be the “rock-bottom” experience that actually brings about real change.  Whether or not that is the case, the belief is almost universal that simply staying in the relationship without making major changes won’t bring about the necessary actions by your spouse to resolve their issues.  Psychologists see addiction as a progressive disease—it will always continue to get worse unless the addict chooses to address the problem.

If you are married to an addict and you have reasonable fears for the safety of you and/or your children, you can ask the court to put a restraining/protective order in place, prohibiting your ex from certain types of contact or from being within a certain distance of your or your children. You can also require that visitation be supervised or even temporarily suspended, unless your spouse can demonstrate participation in treatment.

Contact the Experienced New Jersey Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates

Contact our office online or call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule a confidential consultation. Lyons & Associates, PC, serves the entire state of New Jersey including Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown.