One of the hardest things in life is seeing someone you love battle addiction. Unfortunately, when your spouse struggles with substance abuse issues, it can cause your marriage to deteriorate. However, you may worry that you cannot get a divorce while your spouse is struggling. The following blog explores what you must know if you want to file for divorce when your spouse has a drug or alcohol problem and how a New Jersey divorce attorney can help you during these challenging times.
It’s important to understand that you do not need to prove misconduct occurred in order to get a divorce in New Jersey. The state is a “no-fault” state, meaning you can file if you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences” or simply cannot agree anymore.
However, if you want to pursue a fault-based divorce, substance abuse issues are grounds for marital misconduct. Generally, if your spouse has abused drugs or alcohol for twelve months, you can use this as a means to file a fault-based divorce. As such, you can proceed with a divorce, even if your spouse is battling with addiction.
It is essential to understand that marital misconduct will not impact how marital property is divided during divorce. Instead, the court will consider misconduct when determining other facets of divorce, like alimony or child custody.
For example, if your spouse used funds from a joint bank account to support their addiction, you will likely receive higher alimony from them. If you will pay alimony to your spouse, they cannot use substance abuse issues as an excuse to get a higher payment. Instead, the courts will consider their potential earning capacity into consideration.
When going through any divorce, but especially one in which you’re filing for a fault-based divorce, it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney.
If you file for divorce on the grounds that your spouse has an addiction issue, you will need to gather evidence to help prove the claims. As such, your attorney can help you collect rehabilitation logs, DWI arrest records, and text messages to prove fault.
It’s no secret that divorce can be complex. However, factoring in the issue that one spouse struggles with addiction can make this matter even more challenging.
At Lawrence Family Law, our dedicated legal team understands how complex these issues can be. As such, we will handle your divorce with the utmost care so you can focus on transitioning into the next chapter of your life. Reach out to our firm today to schedule a free case review to learn how our firm can assist you through these challenging matters.
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