Addiction, Children, and Custody in Family Law Divorce Cases
A new feature from Divorce Magazine published on the Huffington Post discusses one of the most common complicating factors in divorce cases -- alcoholism and addiction.
Even under the best possible circumstances, getting divorced can be a long, painful, emotionally messy process. Some spouses say that getting divorced felt more like going to war than anything else. Unfortunately, divorce is also hard for children, especially when issues like custody, alcoholism, or orders of protection are involved, too.
Divorce Law in the United States
There's a common saying that one in two marriages will end in divorce, which is mostly true. Research shows that 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce, while 60% of second marriages end as well. All told, there are nearly 2,400 divorces every day, 16,800 per week, and 876,000 divorces a year. That's one divorce every 36 seconds. More importantly, 1.5 million children deal with their parents getting divorced every year.
Some parents and spouses are fortunate to have a more amicable split. Divorce lawyers can help arrange a mediation process, sparing families the need to battle in court. Unfortunately, divorce lawyers must take a more active role in certain cases, such as when one spouse is in active addiction. In cases like this, especially if you need to use divorce lawyers to protect your children from a parent under the influence, quick action may be necessary.
According to the article in the Huffington Post:
"If the divorce is particularly acrimonious or if there are young children involved, and for the sake of their safety you wish to restrict your addictive spouses access to your children (at least until they have completed a rehabilitation program and stayed clean for a certain period of time), then you may wish to begin gathering all possible evidence of any problematic behavior from your spouse, including times they have been unable to safely care for your children or drive your children responsibly when needed due to being under the influence."
In other cases, a spouse may be reluctant to call the police on someone they love, a situation that could traumatize young children. Every situation is unique, which is why it can be tremendously helpful to have experienced divorce lawyers to advise you in complicated situations like this. A divorce lawyer can not only help you take decisive action, but advise you on your various options.
Unfortunately, addiction and alcoholism is rampant in the U.S., and it's an issue that many divorce lawyers in San Francisco deal with all the time. Many people will not develop substance abuse problems until many years after their wedding, leaving spouses confused and anxious about the future and their children's well being.
If you're considering divorce, or if you've been served with divorce papers yourself, then it is absolutely critical to find a divorce attorney that can fight for your rights. If you have children, then you should look for family law lawyers with experience dealing with custody disputes in particular. When you first speak with a family lawyer, it's important to bring up any questions or concerns you may have about your partner or children's safety immediately.