This month we shared a new study with you that found that drug and alcohol abuse is a major cause of divorce, especially for families who also struggle with financial issues. This research probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has dealt with a loved one who struggles with substance abuse, dependence, and addiction.

But the big question is whether or not you should stay with a spouse who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You said you would stay with your partner in sickness and in health – and addiction is a disease. On the other hand, your spouse’s addiction could be harming your children, your finances, and your mental health.

While we can’t tell you whether or not to seek a divorce, we can help you ask a few questions about how your spouse’s addiction issues are affecting you and your household:

  • Have you or your spouse sought help? Have you staged an intervention? Has he or she attended a rehabilitation program or AA meetings? Have you sought counseling for your marriage or the underlying issues behind your spouse’s addiction issues? Have you or your children gone to counseling to deal with living with an addict?
  • Are your children being harmed by your partner’s addiction? Does your spouse become violent or threatening when drunk or high? Does your spouse’s addiction bring bad influences into your household? Has the addiction brought domestic abuse incidents? Do your children have a poor role model? Have you seen your spouse’s poor behavior reflected in your children? Is your partner’s addiction hurting your family’s emotional stability?
  • Are other parts of your life suffering? Is the addiction causing money issues? Trouble with the law? Employment issues? Issues with your landlord?
  • Are you enabling your spouse? This can be a difficult question to ask, and it requires a lot of honesty and self-reflection. Are you allowing your spouse to continue drinking by paying for his or her alcohol? Are you taking active steps to prevent your spouse from losing their job or getting in trouble with the law? Are you in any way supporting their addiction by staying with them?
  • Have you given your spouse and ultimatum? If so, have you followed through with it?

Do you need legal assistance with a Washington State divorce that involves substance abuse and substance abuse related domestic violence? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington