Life is different when you live with a person struggling with addiction problems. Things are also different when you separate from a spouse with addiction issues.
Legal Separation Agreements
Even if you hope to eventually get back together with your spouse, a legal separation agreement will remove the uncertainty from important issues like child custody, visitation, and financial issues. You and your spouse can create your own agreement and then each of you can speak to your own lawyers for advice and make things legal by filing the agreement with the court. Your lawyers will review your agreement and make suggestions on issues you might have overlooked. To be a good agreement, it should be complete, fair, and enforceable. Your lawyer can help you make such an agreement.
Addiction Issues and Separation Agreements
Every separation agreement should be unique to each couple. Be sure your family law attorney understands how your spouse's addictive behavior has affected your marriage so that specific provisions can be woven into your agreement. This is important because there is every chance that your spouse may not mention their addiction to their own attorney.
Spousal support may be ordered during separation. In many cases, a spouse with addiction struggles is not able to support themselves. If you can help them financially during the separation period, you might want to do so but with stipulations. For example, you might agree to pay part of the expenses for rent or utilities directly to the landlord and the like. It's not usually a good idea to provide someone struggling with addiction with cash but you can still help them if you can afford it. You might also agree to help them pay for treatment if they have the motivation to go. Medication for addiction can be successful for many addicts and that might be another way to support your spouse to get sober during your separation.
Addicts can strip you of financial resources in a short time and you should protect your assets during the separation. Your lawyer will request a hearing to order your spouse to stop accessing property like savings accounts, vehicles, your home, and more. Assets can be frozen to prevent your spouse from selling them for cash.
Consider the Children
If you have children, you must protect them from the actions of your spouse. Even if your spouse truly loves and cares about the children, addiction can take over and direct their actions to your child's detriment. Ask the judge for sole physical custody and consider allowing visitation only when supervised. Avoid overnight visitations or allowing your child to be in a vehicle with your spouse.
To find out more about divorce and legal separation, speak to your family law attorney.