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Frequently Asked Questions About Divorcing a Spouse with Alcoholism or Drug Addiction

 Posted on February 14, 2022 in Divorce

palatine divorce lawyerThe National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that almost 15 million people struggled with alcohol use disorder in 2019. The statics for drug use are similarly disheartening. Just under 20 percent of teens and adults use illegal drugs or take prescription medication in an unlawful manner. Many people struggling with drug addiction are addicted to opioids like oxycontin or fentanyl. If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, his or her addiction will likely influence your divorce case.

Is Drug Addiction Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?

Each state has different divorce laws. Illinois is currently a no-fault divorce state. You will not list your spouse’s addiction as the grounds for you divorce. The only available ground for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” If your spouse contests the divorce and disagrees that you have irreconcilable differences, living separately for at least 6 months is considered sufficient proof of irreconcilable differences.

What if My Spouse Does Not Participate or Cooperate in the Divorce?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can take over a person’s entire life. Your spouse may be unable or unwilling to participate in your divorce. Fortunately, you can get a divorce even if your spouse does not participate. When you file for divorce, your spouse will be asked to file an appearance and respond to the divorce petition. If he or she will not sign divorce papers or file a response and appearance within 30 days, you may be issued a default judgment. This means that the Court issues a judgment in favor of the petitioner (person who filed for divorce) granting him or her the divorce outcome he or she requested.

Will I Get Custody of My Kids?

Understandably, many parents are worried about how the other parent’s drug or alcohol addiction will affect his or her ability to parent. You may worry that your spouse will pass out around your children or fail to keep them safe. Many spouses in this situation seek full custody. The Court may also impose certain parenting time restrictions so your spouse can still spend time with your children safely. For example, the Court may require your spouse’s parenting time to take place under supervision or require him or he to attend drug or alcohol treatment before he or she can be awarded parenting time.

Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer

Divorcing an addict is challenging, but you do not have to face this challenge alone. Contact knowledgeable Arlington Heights divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson for help. Call the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. at 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.


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