drug abuse

Addiction can be detrimental to a lot of things, including a family. One spouse’s continuous substance abuse can be a contributing factor to the deterioration of a relationship in multiple ways. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can lead to financial ruin, verbal and physical abuse, emotional distress, resentment, etc. The other spouse will have to determine how to protect themselves and any children involved, so divorce may be the best option. If you are filing for divorce because of substance abuse, contact a York County, PA divorce attorney for representation.

Is Pennsylvania a Fault State?

Pennsylvania is a mixed state when it comes to filing for divorce. The state law allows the filing party to choose between a fault or no-fault divorce. A fault-based divorce means that one of the spouse’s actions had a direct impact on the decision to get a divorce. This could mean that one spouse committed adultery, abandoned the other, was imprisoned, was cruel, etc. It will have to be proven that one spouse committed the wrongdoing that the other is claiming.

A no-fault divorce means that a court will not require that any specific reason be proven during a divorce. It is enough to say that you want a divorce and the marriage just did not work out. Some reasons people may file for a no-fault divorce include incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and that the marriage is broken beyond repair.

When is Substance Abuse Considered?

During litigation, a court will consider many factors about the couple and their relationship including the length of the marriage, the age of each spouse, if there are children involved, assets, debts, etc. Substance abuse will also be considered when making several decisions.

  1. Child custody will be determined based on what is best for the child. It is probably not in their best interest to be raised under the care of an addict in case there are dangerous substances around, they are abusive, or their needs are not met.
  2. During the division of property, a court will consider substance abuse and the actions of the addict. If they caused a decline in the assets of the couple then the other spouse may be awarded more property to make up for it.
  3. The non-using spouse may be required to pay alimony to the addicted spouse depending on the circumstances of their employment and earning capacity. On the other hand, if the addicted spouse used joint savings to pay for drugs and/or alcohol, for example, which took money from the other spouse, then the using spouse may be required to pay alimony to the non-using spouse.

How Can I Prove the Substance Abuse?

In a fault-based divorce, proof is imperative. Collect evidence including photographs, videos, medical records, police reports, accident reports, and more. Work with a skilled attorney to gather and organize the evidence. They will be able to present the information to a judge in a compelling manner to prove the detrimental effects of your spouse’s substance abuse and ensure that you are coming out of the divorce with what is rightfully yours.