How does substance abuse impact your divorce?

Division of Property in a Texas Divorce

Addiction is a problem that can quickly eat away at a marriage’s finances and the core trust that holds a union together. Addiction through forms of substance abuse often lead to destruction in a user’s life. Unfortunately, this destruction usually has a ripple effect that damages the foundation of a family.

Texas is a no-fault state, so if one party of a marriage has had enough with their addicted spouse and needs out for their and their children’s safety, divorce is the best option. However, before you enter into the official process, take some time to consider how a substance abuse problem can impact the outcome of your divorce.


Most people living with someone who has a substance abuse problem don’t typically turn straight for divorce unless issues like physical, mental, or emotional abuse are involved.

Keep in mind, the person you fell in love with is behind a wall of drugs or alcohol that masks who they once were. Before a divorce, it’s imperative to face the addiction head-on and try to get your loved one the help they need.

However, if they refuse help or their actions continue after your attempt, a contested divorce may be your only way out of this situation.


During a divorce where children are involved, their best interests are the heart of the case. While proof of a drink here and there may not create any substantial issues within a child custody dispute, abuse of alcohol or drugs is an entirely different story.

Someone with a substance abuse problem who has not or doesn’t plan to attend rehabilitation therapy, is deemed by the courts to be a significant threat to a child’s safety and wellbeing. If the other parent is not a substance user, it’s highly possible that the judge presiding over your case will award custody to the sober parent.

In cases where the abusing parent has injured their children while under the influence, there may not even be the option of joint custody. Based on evidence presented in your case, the courts may grant supervised visitation rights to the abusing spouse. In order to gain these privileges, they may also have to be subject to random drug screenings or enforced rehabilitation.


Just and right property division is the goal of dividing marital assets, and substance abuse can have a steep impact on who is awarded what. If there is evidence that the abusing spouse has wasted marital assets on drug use, it’s possible that the judge may divide property in a “just and right” way that reflects the depleting actions of your spouse.


In cases where a party is eligible to request spousal support, a court will have more to consider when such support is on the line. If the circumstances of the divorce allow for one spouse to receive spousal support the spouse may be open to receiving more financial support if there is proof that the addicted spouse drained the couple’s financial resources throughout the marriage.


If you are ready to seek a divorce, the Fort Worth family law attorneys at Marx, Altman & Johnson are here to help! We have experience working with a range of divorce issues, from child custody to even the most contested divorces. We can help you fight for your family’s brighter future today. Contact us to learn more about our services and to schedule your free consultation.

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