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Is divorce inevitable when you are married to an addict?

Marriage in and of itself is difficult under even the best of circumstances. Any of us reading this blog post who are married know that there are financial, emotional, and relational aspects of marriage that take a fair bit of work and teamwork to improve upon them. The trouble with Marriage is that it is not a one-way street where you're attempting to improve the relationship on your own and can solve whatever problems are facing you and your spouse. Rather, it takes the concerted effort of both you and your spouse to work through the issues that have been giving the two of you trouble. Even then, sometimes your best efforts are not always going to pan out to where you can save a marriage that has been floundering or struggling.

The problems of your marriage can be caused by or exacerbated by many Different conditions that exist in your life and that of your spouse. One of the issues that I have seen become more prevalent at least since the beginning of the pandemic has been issues regarding drug and alcohol addiction. Additionally, problems with addiction to online gambling and sexual websites have increasingly become an issue that many families have had to work through. Depending upon you are willingness to work with one another and the degree to which the problem has infiltrated your marriage you all may be able to seek assistance with experienced marriage or family counseling.

Ultimately, the problems that exist in your marriage are unique to you and your spouse. While you may believe that there are people out there who are facing the same circumstances as you this simply is not the case. Rather, you and your spouse need to find an assistant from people who understand the types of unique circumstances that you are going through. This may look like a licensed marriage or family counselor, therapist or even a pastor or priest 2 has experienced walking with people in your position. The bottom line is that the issues of a marriage going through difficulties like yours cannot be expected to be resolved themselves without concerted effort and intentionality.

In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to discuss what it means to go through a divorce when one spouse is an addict. There are examples all around us of people who successfully work through issues regarding addiction in their marriage and do so with enough time to save their marriage period however, I believe that you will find the people that can do so take specific and intentional action as soon as they became aware of the issue. This way they were able to determine what next steps they need to take or if there was an opportunity to even save the marriage in the first place.

If you get to a point where it becomes abundantly clear that you and your spouse are not going to be able to salvage your marriage, then the next step in your work analysis may be 2 consider a divorce. If that is where the two of you are then I would recommend that you consider contacting the law office of Brian. Having an experienced family law attorney to represent you in your case can be essential when issues regarding addiction are involved. Unfortunately, issues involving addiction can oftentimes be impactful for both Community property and conservatorships issues regarding their minor children. Rather than put yourself through a great deal of stress by attempting to handle this divorce on your own I recommend reaching out to one of our attorneys to learn more about the divorce process and how our attorneys can walk with you and advocate to protect your children.

Being married to an alcoholic is certainly a challenge

If anyone reading this blog post comes from a household where your father, mother, or siblings were Alcoholics then you certainly understand the challenges that come with living with someone with this type of addiction. The mood swings, physical limitations, and stress brought about by alcoholism are certainly profound. Going through these problems as a child is very difficult. You may have seen your mother or father do their best to raise you despite the challenges brought about by an alcoholic parent.

However, if you are married to an addict of any kind then you know that this is a disease that impacts every facet of that person's life. You and your children are surely impacted by this addiction. It can be disheartening to see your children impacted but also to see your spouse’s life destroyed little by little. In almost every divorce case that I have worked on where addiction has been an issue, there are usually health issues in addition to family and financial issues. You may be surprised to learn just tell frequently that addiction leads to financial problems and even bankruptcy.

These are bigger picture items that affect a divorce from a 30,000-foot perspective. In other cases, we need to consider the day-to-day impacts of addiction. One of the first things that I noticed in divorce cases where addiction was an issue was that the addict's spouse would typically act irrationally. Oftentimes addicts have issues with discerning truth from fiction and as a result, can come up with tall tales and exaggerations to justify their behavior. These are among the more frustrating aspects of a case because it can be difficult to get a grasp on the goals of a party when they cannot be clear with themselves about their reality and the impact of their addiction on their family life. Not basing their decisions on objectives and reality-based situations can be a major problem for a family especially going through a divorce. 

Next, addicts frequently do not take care of themselves well as their addiction becomes the focus of their life. As such, you may find that your spouse gets sick and is otherwise unable to take care of him or herself throughout the day. While this is a sad part of the addiction process it is nonetheless frustrating for people who go through a divorce with an addict spouse. At least having a spouse who is accountable for the process and deadlines can help move a divorce case along. However, when you find that your spouse is unable to care for him or herself sufficiently that puts you in a position where there may be delays or other problems associated with their case. With that said, there's only so much you can do to care for your spouse while going through a divorce.

Sadly, addicts are frequently not on good terms with the truth. This means that addicts are frequently liars, as well. At a certain point, addicts’ life becomes more about feeding their addiction rather than engaging with their family and especially their spouse. When you begin asking questions about how money is being spent, the whereabouts of your spouse at times of the day, and other issues in their life it is normal for that spouse to get upset and lie to cover up their addiction and continue in their destructive behavior. Lying is frequently an issue in divorce cases it typically does not turn out well for the liar especially if they lie in affidavits or on the witness stand in court.

I mentioned earlier those online addictions have increasingly become an issue in Texas divorce cases as I'm sure it has around the world. whether these online addictions are gambling-related or related to sexual items, the infidelity showed through lying and erratic behavior oftentimes manifests itself with cheating and infidelity in your relationship. If you have concerns financially about where money is being spent and how then you probably should turn your attention to your spouse's behavior. It may be that he or she is engaging in extramarital affairs with money being spent on a boyfriend or girlfriend without your knowledge. While this type of behavior is destructive to your relationship without a doubt it is also true that you may need to pursue these funds in a reimbursement claim during your divorce. Be sure to share with your attorney any proof you have of the wasting of community assets so that he or she may act appropriately in that regard.

Staying married to an addict is most certainly a risk. Although you may want to do everything possible to help your spouse the reality is that if you have put in a concerted amount of effort to help him or her in their addiction there is only so much more that you can do. As such, you should be aware of remaining married to an addict beyond the point where you think that he or she can be helped by you. A key point to this discussion is that addicts frequently engage in bad behavior when it comes to money, finances, or their behavior in general. For every bad action taken by your spouse, you put yourself in a position where you may become liable for, their bad acts. 

At the very least, consider what would happen if your spouse showed up to work intoxicated late or otherwise unable to fulfill their job duties. You put yourself in a position where you are relying financially upon a person who is not trustworthy and who cannot take care of their day-to-day work responsibilities. This is a major issue for you to consider. For how long and to what extent are you willing to put yourself and your family in a risky position as far as your lives are concerned? The longer you stay married to an addict without helping him or her address the addiction the more you position yourself to become liable legally and otherwise for their bad acts. Certainly, being married to an addict means that their behavior is a reflection upon you and your family. 

Have you ever had to bail your spouse out of jail? Have you ever had to explain to a family member or friend the erratic, irrational, or destructive behavior of your spouse? Even if you have been put in this position and have made peace with having to do so that still does not account for the toll it takes on you from a psychological perspective over a long period. As a result, you should consider the impact that your spouse’s behavior is having on the long-term well-being of you and your family.

Deciding to move forward with a divorce

I think one of the hurdles that you may have to clear when it comes to finally come to peace with the decision to get a divorce is that getting a divorce is not your fault. In any divorce, multiple causes bring people to file for divorced from one another period however, the reality of an addiction-based divorce is that the addiction tends to be and most likely is the prominent and most important factor that led to the divorce case itself. This is something that you cannot take responsibility for in any way. Well, you may not feel this way currently, the reality is your spouse may not even be in control of his actions at this point. Addiction is, after all, a disease.

Addiction is not something that ever becomes a completely solvable issue for the addict. Rather, addiction tends to be something that can be kept under control with diligent treatment and intentionality. At no point, however, will an addict who is diligently treating themselves tell you that he or she is cured. There are always concerns about the potential for relapse or engaging in bad behavior once again. This is true even for people who have taken profound steps to treat themselves and take care of the issue that is impacting their lives.

Another aspect of this discussion that I think is relevant is that it is not necessarily true that threatening a divorce from your spouse will cause him or her to change their behavior. ultimatums and deadlines typically don't mean much to an addict. As a result, while you may feel like making a deadline out of your divorce as a motivating factor for your spouse it frequently turns out that he or she is not able to grasp the reality on real terms. Again, addicts typically view situations through the lens of being an addict. That's just the reality that you and your spouse need to come to understand.

Many people who are considering a divorce from an addict spouse will wonder whether their spouse even loves them anymore. After all, it may have been some years since you and your spouse have engaged in a productive and symbiotic relationship. with that said, for you and I to discuss what matters most about your spouse in a divorce is anyone's guess. While we approach issues from a fact-based perspective your spouse likely views everything through their addiction in that lens.

If you are at the point where you are considering a divorce but have not yet tried to go through therapy or counseling, then that may be something that you want to consider. This is especially true if you can find a therapist in your area that specializes in addiction, illnesses brought about by addiction, and the recovery process. This may be your last shot at saving your marriage and should be something that you can investigate along with your spouse. You and your spouse may have a feeling about what the addiction is but may not know what addiction is or even how to treat it. This is where a counselor can come in handy. Providing education and a path towards sobriety can be a great advantage for you and your family who are going through the addiction process with a spouse.

On the other hand, you may still be coming to grips with what problems are facing your family. I have worked with some people who are going through divorce that are not ready to acknowledge the addiction and problems associated with it. Stating in the open that your spouse is an addict is a great place to begin. That means accepting that your spouse is an addict and importantly stating to your spouse that you believe that he or she is an addict. This can be a critical step in being able to move forward with counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation. Some addicts may think that their addiction is merely a "problem." Hearing from their spouse that they are an addict may be what he or she needs to zero in on their problems and begin to work on a road toward sobriety. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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