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Do You Need Help Divorcing an Addict?


Actor Ben Affleck recently said his divorce from actress Jennifer Garner was the biggest regret of his life. Unfortunately, his alcohol addiction contributed to the dissolution of their marriage.

Spouses faced with addiction being a third party in their relationship generally find divorce to be 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 handling 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 who on the outside appeared happy, and their life looked as though they had it all together. He was a tech guru, she a urogynecologist. They had an adorable 2-year-old, a home in Scarsdale, and assets totaling 6 million. What the wife didn’t realize, for a long time, was that her husband was a coke addict. He hid it really well and she was embarrassed she didn’t know. Marriage counseling hadn’t worked. His addiction treatments never lasted and it was time for them 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 can be a third party in a couple’s marriage.

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, budgetary needs; think about the survival of yourself and your family;

2.) Be aware there is a functional addict versus a 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 importantly hide their addiction. You may not know they are an addict;

The dysfunctional addict bounces from job to job, always lying, may have DWI’s, sometimes a criminal record. 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.) Choose the right vehicle for divorce.

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 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 my unique mediation process.

With over 35 years of legal experience and my medical training, I can uniquely guide you towards a happier and healthier life.

Call today to book your free consultation 212.734.1551.

During this challenging time our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS will be conducted virtually by telephone or TeleDivorce by Skype or FaceTime to reduce risk and maintain safety for everyone!

I look forward to working with you and sharing my expert team of specialists with you!

Stay Healthy & Safe!