It is no secret that substance abuse impacts families across the U.S. today. Your partner’s substance abuse issues can affect your divorce if you end a marriage with someone addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Read on to learn more about divorcing someone with substance abuse issues, and how these problems can impact custody and property division.
Minnesota’s No-Fault Divorce Laws
A no-fault divorce state means a party can pursue divorce for any reason. In other words, you don’t have to justify your divorce by proving that one party did something to cause it. You won’t have to prove your spouse’s addiction or dependence on drugs or alcohol to start the divorce process. You can also do so without your partner’s consent by filing with the state’s official online forms.
Most states that do not follow no-fault divorce will still allow you to divorce a partner with substance abuse issues, including addiction to alcohol or drugs. It is commonly listed as legitimate grounds for divorce.
Substance Abuse and Child Custody
Substance abuse issues can significantly impact child custody arrangements in Minnesota. The court will determine custody based only on what is best for the child, regardless of parental preferences.
Parental drug or alcohol addiction is relevant to the child’s best interest, and the state will be reluctant to award custody to a parent suffering from these issues. A judge may order a parent to undergo treatment for their addiction before granting custody in certain situations.
The Minnesota Statute (Section 518.17) states that any mental, physical, or chemical health issue of a parent that could affect the child’s safety or developmental needs will be considered in determining custody arrangements.
Co-Parenting and Substance Abuse
There are many sections to include in a custody agreement that can help guarantee your child’s safety when co-parenting with someone who has substance abuse issues concerning drugs or alcohol.
If you feel your partner poses a danger to your child, consider asking a third party to be present during visitation with the children. You could also require sobriety testing before allowing the visitation to ensure that your ex-spouse will not be under the influence when visiting your children.
Some parents choose to include a clause in the custody agreement requiring the ex-spouse to undergo treatment for their addiction before seeing their children again. These agreements will also address what happens in the event of relapse after treatment is complete.
If you choose to include these or other similar stipulations in your custody agreement, be sure to address the consequences for failure to uphold the agreed-upon terms. What will happen, for example, if you learn your spouse has violated your custody agreement yet still expects to visit with your children?
We know it can be difficult to restrict a children’s access to their parents. While it’s easy to feel like the “bad guy,” remember that every decision is in the child’s best interest. Until the abuse issues concerning drugs and alcohol are addressed, your children can be put in an unsafe situation.
Is Substance Abuse Considered When Dividing Marital Assets?
Substance abuse usually doesn’t impact how you will divide your marital assets. Generally, most states will not consider who is “at fault” for the divorce when determining who will receive how much of your shared assets.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and substance abuse can be one. One person may receive fewer assets if their substance abuse significantly impacted the total amount of shared marital assets.
For example, suppose your spouse depleted your marital assets by purchasing drugs or alcohol. In that case, you may be entitled to a larger share of the assets after your divorce. This is meant to reimburse you for the money you lost to your partner’s addiction issues.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney About Divorcing Someone With Substance Abuse Issues
Divorcing someone with an addiction issue can be a lengthy and complicated process. The best way to make the right decisions for your family is to work with an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney will help you navigate the process and achieve the best results for your family.
Contact the experienced legal team at CJB Law today to start working with an experienced and qualified divorce attorney. We are here to help you and your family navigate this troubling time, so you can get back to the life you once loved.