Divorcing an alcoholic spouse is a difficult decision to make, but may not be a surprising one. Those who heavily consume more alcohol than their spouses are more likely to divorce, according to a 2013 study by researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Now that you’ve decided to divorce your alcoholic wife, it’s important to seek the proper legal and health-related counsel to prepare for it.
Find a family attorney who has experience with alcohol-related divorces and set up a consultation. Ask friends or family members who have dealt with divorcing an alcoholic for recommendations. Call a lawyer referral service for help or search for a divorce or family lawyer through online directories.
Ensure your kids' safety. If you don't believe your kids are safe in your wife's care, seek your lawyer's help to deny her custody at least until she gets help for her addiction, suggests psychiatrist Elissa P. Benedek, in her book, "How to Help Your Child Overcome Your Divorce: A Support Guide for Families." Decide whether you will move out and take the kids with you or make arrangements for your wife to stay with her family or a friend who can accommodate her.
Plan for financial issues with your lawyer and a financial adviser. Divorce may often prove expensive, but additional costs are involved in divorcing an alcoholic. For example, you may help pay for your wife's rehab or other treatment expenses and the costs of psychotherapy and counseling for the family will also have to be in your budget. Figure out how you will divide property and assets, and learn how the divorce will affect your taxes.
Gather solid evidence that proves your wife's alcoholism. Ask friends or family to provide statements supporting your claims. Find photos of the results of any physical abuse caused by the alcoholism, as well as relevant police reports and hospital records. Submit any receipts and bank statements proving excessive purchases of alcohol your wife has made.
Find a therapist or family counselor with specific experience in helping the families of alcoholic wives and mothers. Talk to this professional about the stress and guilt that accompanies leaving an alcoholic wife. If you have kids, arrange for their own private counseling sessions.
- The Huffington Post: The Relationship Between Alcoholism And Divorce
- How to Help Your Child Overcome Your Divorce: A Support Guide for Families; Elissa P. Benedek and Catherine F. Brown
- Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce; Emily Doskow
- Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research; Discordant and Concordant Alcohol Use in Spouses as Predictors of Marital Dissolution in the General Population: Results from the Hunt Study; Fartein A. Torvik, et. al.
- Memphis Divorce: Divorcing Your Alcoholic Spouse in Tennessee
- The Truth About Divorce; Mark J. Kittleson, Ph.D
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