7 Clever Ways To Seek Divorce From An Alcoholic Husband
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An alcoholic spouse brings untold hardships; sadly, you most probably have had a front-row seat to witness these tragic experiences. You should know that researching how to seek a divorce from an alcoholic husband is quite common with those whose husbands can’t seem to put down the bottle, so you’re absolutely justified in this action.
Divorcing a husband with alcoholism – or for any reason – has complications and considerations you must keep in mind. These range from protection for you and your kids, if any, to asset division and child custody.
Needless to say, it can be quite a challenging process, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead with it. If you’re getting cold feet, perhaps consider some ramifications of staying in a marriage with an alcoholic husband.
4 Effects of alcoholism on a marriage
Physical and emotional abuse
Can you remain calm and patient with an alcoholic husband? Sure you can. But please note that men who have an alcohol problem are 6x more likely to engage in domestic violence.
This happens because alcohol makes people lose control, and if you aren’t being subjected to violence already, know that you are at risk if you stay. Your kids could also be a target, so you might need to get out while you can.
And even if he isn’t being physically abusive, emotional abuse is still quite common with alcoholics. He will likely say something that offends you one too many times while under the influence of alcohol. Abuse is abuse.
One of the main reasons why you might hear a woman say, “I want to get a divorce from my alcoholic husband,” is money issues.
Data collected by Just Great Lawyers shows that Financial problems are, in general, one of the primary reasons for divorce, so you can imagine a situation where the husband keeps spending the family’s money on substances.
The thing about the human body is that it develops a tolerance to alcohol if you take it in large quantities. The alcoholic would then be forced to consume more alcohol or those of higher quality. To overcome this tolerance. Both these things will damage the family’s earnings pocket.
A marriage with an alcoholic will bring with it various sources of stress. There’s financial stress from worrying about how to manage resources that are being squandered on alcohol.
Another source of stress is the constant worry over when he might be violent towards you and the kids. And there’s also the stress of worrying about his health and whereabouts if he goes on a bender.
Stress can lead to anxiety which has several adverse effects on the body. Ask yourself if the stress your husband gives you by being an alcoholic is worth it.
Infidelity and unfaithfulness
As previously mentioned, alcohol inhibits control and makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do. One such thing is cheating on a spouse.
Picture this, your husband has been drinking heavily at a work function, and Cheryl from accounting – his “work wife” – approaches him. He turns her down because he is married. He then keeps drinking, and an hour later, when they get to talking again, they end up in a storage room somewhere and sin against you and God.
That’s just one plausible scenario of the potential infidelity that alcohol overconsumption can lead to. This is something you don’t want. Not least because it can create trust issues in a marriage, but it can also put you at risk of infection from STIs.
Check out other effects of alcohol on a marriage.
If these are effects you’d like to avoid, your best option might be to divorce your alcoholic husband.
All states in the U.S. permit no-fault divorces, which means you won’t get to list alcohol as a reason for divorce. However, courts will generally listen to evidence of an alcohol disorder in deciding on divorce.
This means that issues such as spousal and child support, division of assets, and child custody will often be subject to the alcoholic status of your husband. There is also a chance of you getting spousal protection if the court believes that your husband might try to harm you.
To have a smooth enough divorce, there are certain things to consider when trying to avoid an alcoholic husband.
7 Tips to consider when divorcing an alcoholic husband
Get a divorce lawyer
Speak to a divorce lawyer as soon as possible because they will give you all the relevant advice on what you need to do before, during, and after the divorce.
They will guide you on the relevant state laws that apply to you and advise you on those that can make life easier or much more complicated. Their learned opinions on child custody rights will also come in very handy.
If you’re worried about affording a lawyer, contact your state’s or nation’s bar association and ask them for lawyers looking to take on pro bono cases. Legal aid groups in colleges and women’s rights groups can also help.
Collect evidence of alcoholism
Evidence is one of the central answers to how to get a divorce from an alcoholic husband because the court might need proof that your husband does indeed have an alcohol addiction.
Try to gather evidence such as:
- Texts and messages where your husband admits he has an alcohol problem.
- Statements from mutual friends and neighbors who corroborate your claims.
- Medical records from when your husband was treated for an alcohol-related event such as a DWI or alcohol poisoning.
- Medical records of physical abuse.
- Pictures of damages to properties and assets when your husband was intoxicated.
- Police reports and arrests for DWI or abuse.
- Specific instances you recall made you very worried he would hurt you, the kids, or both.
- Positive results of random alcohol tests by the court.
You won’t need to gather all of these examples of evidence, but gathering some would help your case significantly.
Moving out to a safer place
As for how to behave with an alcoholic husband whom you plan to divorce, it’s best to avoid facing aggression from him by moving out.
If he has never been violent before, you should still consider moving because there’s no telling how news of an impending divorce might affect him, especially when he’s under the influence.
And if he is the violent type, consider getting a protection order and moving just to cover all bases. Living apart also has the advantage of convincing the courts that you indeed have “irreconcilable differences.”
Protecting yourself financially
One critical approach to how to seek divorce from an alcoholic husband is to protect your financial assets after serving him divorce papers or if he is aware that you plan to pursue a divorce.
This is especially important if you are the breadwinner. You don’t want to tell stories about how your vindictive ex-husband rampaged through your finances when you told him you planned to divorce him.
Some ways you can protect yourself financially include:
- Freeze your credit at the credit bureau to prevent your husband from taking credit in your name.
- Set limits on joint accounts to prevent massive withdrawals by your husband.
- Change any financial account passwords and pins to debit cards if your husband has them.
- Remove your husband’s “authorized user status” on your credit card.
- Speak to a financial planner to make plans to safeguard your assets.
- Set aside a budget for divorce costs on advice from your lawyer and financial planner.
There are also important documents that you need to collect and safeguard, including:
- Bank and credit card statements.
- Investment account statements.
- Retirement account statements such as IRAs and 401(k)s.
- Loan documents such as mortgage loans.
- Income statements for you and your husband ( can be copies).
- Property ownership and lease documents.
These documents will ensure your husband doesn’t attempt to pull a fast one on you during divorce proceedings.
The court will try to act in the best interests of your children, so there is a good chance of you getting custody if your husband hasn’t overcome his drinking problems. He might only be allowed supervised visitation if he tries to stay sober.
If he has stopped drinking, the court might grant some level of joint custody that is still subject to constraints such as weekend visits.
Financial support and asset division
Assets will likely be divided equally or according to prenuptial agreements. This can still be impacted by the effects of alcoholism on your husband, however. For instance, if the court finds that your assets and resources were negatively affected by his alcohol addiction, you might get a larger share of the assets as compensation.
Debts incurred partly from alcoholism will either have a larger portion placed on your husband, or the entire amount might go to him.
Child and spousal support will be treated the same way. In some states, the court might calculate support based on your husband’s potential earnings if he wasn’t an alcoholic. So speak to your divorce lawyer about this for more clarity.
Speaking to a child counselor
While thinking of how to seek divorce from an alcoholic husband, don’t forget the impact on your children. They would have witnessed heated episodes between you and your husband that might negatively affect them in the future.
Consider speaking to a child counselor to see how best you can help your children moving forward. Being trained in the subject, the counselor would also advise you on how to answer questions from your children regarding your impending divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do when your spouse won’t stop drinking?
- Avoid enabling the problem by covering up for him and ignoring the issue.
- Talk to him about how his drinking hurts the family when he is sober.
- Take care of your children and yourself.
- Consider moving or another exit strategy if he gets physically and emotionally abusive.
- Join a support group to learn coping strategies.
- Research ways to deal with alcohol addiction so that you are more informed to help your husband.
What percentage of marriages end because of alcohol?
Research has shown that marriages with a spouse who drinks heavily have a 50% probability of divorce. This is compared to the 30% rate for couples who don’t drink and couples where both spouses are heavy drinkers.
There is also a higher correlation between heavy drinking and divorce when the wife is an alcoholic.
What does alcohol do to a marriage?
- It can lead to trust issues.
- Places a strain on financial resources.
- It can lead to intimacy and infertility issues due to the medical effects of alcoholism.
- Marriage is at risk of the alcoholic spouse engaging in infidelity.
- Increases the likelihood of divorce significantly.
Divorce can be a complex and emotional issue for all involved. Still, it is necessary for some instances, and one of them is spousal alcoholism.
Marriage is meant to be a safe place, and if alcoholism threatens that, you can’t be blamed for trying to leave to preserve your peace of mind. It will take courage to go through the trials of a divorce, which is why you need to plan ahead for it.
Get a good lawyer, collect evidence on your husband’s alcohol addiction, and protect your finances. Remember to act in the best interest of your kids, if any. It might take some time, but you’ll come out of this situation better off.
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