Addiction is not only hard on the addict; it’s also hard on the people in their lives. Life with an addict is so difficult, so out of control, that the decision to seek a divorce is often an act of figurative or literal self-preservation.
Still, divorcing an addict can be a complex and delicate process, and you would be wise to explore every resource available to help you.
Factors to consider
In Virginia, you may file for no-fault divorce. According to the Virginia legal code, you must live separately from your spouse for at least one year. This separation time period can be halved should you and your spouse agree to certain terms and have no children. However, addiction may be an obstacle to any such agreement as an addict can be difficult to “pin down” while they are foregoing treatment.
Another choice available to you is to file for divorce “with grounds.” This means you want to end your marriage because of a “fault” on the part of your spouse. If you choose the fault divorce process, you will have to prove your spouse’s addiction and prove how the substance abuse negatively affected you and your children. The specific code says that one condition for fault is that your spouse must cause a “reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt.”
Additionally, living with an addict may have already exposed you to financial and legal hardships. You may have to choose to allow him or her to deal with these problems without your help.
Options for divorce
Your situation may already be tense and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are resources to assist you with most aspects of dealing with a spouse who has a drug or alcohol problem. You will want to be certain to have a strong legal advocate who understands the sensitive nature of addiction and who will help you reach your goals in the most efficient manner possible.