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When addiction leads to divorce

Just because one spouse is struggling with an addiction problem doesn't mean that it will lead to the destruction of the marriage. However, addiction -- be it to drugs, alcohol, pills or something else -- does cause approximately 7.3 percent of divorces in the United Sates. If you're struggling with a spouse who has an addiction problem, you may be considering divorce, but it won't be an easy decision.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether it's time -- in your case -- to bring your marriage to a close:

  • In what ways has your life changed since the beginnings of your spouse's struggles with addiction?
  • Have you had a talk with your spouse regarding his or her addiction problems?
  • Has your spouse gone to counseling or drug rehabilitation?
  • Have you staged an intervention?
  • Has your spouse been lying to you, breaking promises or failing drug tests while saying that he or she was clean?
  • Have you reached your wit's end and you want to get out?
  • Are you ready to end your marriage and start a new and separate life?
  • Are you okay with the potential "blow-back" or other effects you'll experience from friends and family when you announce your plans to divorce?

Having a spouse with addiction problems can make you feel a confluence of emotions. On the one hand, you may feel like you're somehow responsible for his or her health and well-being. On the other hand, you may have come to the conclusion that there's nothing that can be done. Once you've gone through the difficult emotional process dealing with a spouse who has an addiction -- and you know that it's time -- find out what it takes to end your marriage respectfully and in a way that honors your marital property rights.

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