Spouses faced with addiction being a third party in their relationship
generally find divorce as their only way out. As a psychologically- trained
medical professional and divorce attorney, I have a unique approach to
guiding couples through divorce while addressing addiction.
I can often identify addiction behaviors while navigating the mediation
process with divorcing couples. In some cases, addiction is evident to
a spouse, in others, it is not.
I worked with an amazing couple last year at the beginning of the pandemic
who on the outside appeared happy, and their life looked as though they
had it all together. He was a scientist, she a marketing expert. They
had an adorable 8-year-old son, a home in Oyster Bay, and assets totaling
What the wife didn’t realize, for a long time, was that her husband
was abusing prescription drugs. Apparently he was involved in a bad auto
accident, took painkillers, and got hooked. He hid his addiction really
well and she was embarrassed she didn’t know.
Marriage counseling hadn’t worked. His addiction treatments never
lasted, and it was time to dissolve their marriage. Still caring for her
husband, the wife expressed wanting to help him with his issues while
divorcing. I was able to connect him to an effective addiction specialist
and the couple was finally able to move through their divorce.
I share this story with you so you know you are not alone. Addictions are
a part of life and during the pandemic addictions have escalated in record numbers.
Here’s what I tell spouses considering divorce:
1. Courage, Planning, & Preparation
Find the courage to decide you want out of your marriage. It’s hard,
but if you have tried everything and you are unhappy, take action. Do
some research and decide who can help you, gather your documents, financial
statements, tax returns, property details, and budgetary needs. Think
about the survival of yourself and your family.
2. Functional Addict Vs. Dysfunctional Addict
A functional addict can usually hold a job, can make a good income, can
seem very normal, often build a tolerance, and most important, hide their
addiction--you may not know they are an addict.
The dysfunctional addict bounces from job to job, is always lying, may
have DWIs, sometimes a criminal record. They are more identifiable. If
you are aware of the addiction, and depending on what type of addict your
spouse is, the method you use for divorcing will be important.
3. The Right Divorce Vehicle
Sometimes mediation can help when addiction is in the mix. In my mediation
process, once I identify addiction, if it is not already evident to the
spouse, I introduce my team of experts who can help as therapists/and
or addiction specialists so the spouse in emotional pain can be treated
for their addiction while working through their divorce. A mentally/physically
better spouse can participate more fully and effectively in the decision-making
process in a divorce.
If the story I shared above sounds like you, there is help! While addictions
can ruin marriages, it is possible to navigate a sane and sound divorce
even when addiction is on board.
With over 35 years of legal experience and medical training, I can uniquely
guide you towards a happier and healthier life.
Call today to book your free consultation 212.734.1551.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS
are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.
I look forward to working with you and sharing my special team of experts with you!
Stay healthy ans safe!
Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner can help your family struggling with addiction
and considering divorce. Call now to book your free consultation.
We have a few appointments still available for this week!