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How Do I Prove Substance Abuse Issues in a New Jersey Divorce?

When you and your spouse tie the knot, you may be prepared to face and overcome a litany of challenges with them. However, it’s unfortunate that you may not be able to overcome every problem that life throws your way. Unfortunately, addiction is a leading cause of divorce. If your spouse struggles with substance abuse issues, connecting with a Morris County divorce & separation law firm to discuss your legal options is critical. Keep reading to learn more about these matters and why you need legal guidance to prove the extent of these matters.

Will My Spouse’s Substance Abuse Issues Impact Our Divorce?

It’s necessary to understand that if your spouse struggles with addiction, you do not need to prove it to be granted a divorce. New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning you do not have to have a reason other than “irreconcilable differences” to file for a divorce.

However, your spouse’s addiction can impact the outcome of your divorce, in terms of alimony and child custody. Generally, your spouse cannot use their substance abuse issues to request a higher alimony payment from you. This is because the courts will consider their earning capacity, meaning the potential income they could earn based on their education and experience. If their substance abuse is the only reason they are not earning what they could be, the courts will not award an increased payment.

Additionally, if your spouse struggles with substance abuse, you can use this to fight for custody. Unfortunately, when a parent struggles with addiction, they generally are not fit to parent. As such, you may worry for your child’s health and well-being when caring for their other parent. Even if your spouse loves your child and would never intentionally hurt them, neglect and injury to your child because of the state your spouse is in can occur. As such, your spouse may be held to supervised visitations so they can spend time with the child without being the primary caregiver.

How Can I Prove My Spouse Abuses Substances?

Though it may seem cruel to prove the extent of your spouse’s addiction in court, it is essential to ensure that you receive a fair outcome in terms of alimony and that any children you share will end up in the best possible situation. As such, you can present the following as evidence of your spouse’s substance abuse issues:

  • Medical records
  • Rehabilitation stays
  • Text messages
  • Photos and videos
  • Police records (domestic disputes, DUIs, possession charges)
  • Testimony from friends and family
  • Disciplinary action from your spouse’s employer

If you are going through a divorce and your spouse is battling addiction, you likely don’t want to see them suffer. However, you may have decided it’s time to put yourself and your children first. At Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn, we understand this is an incredibly difficult time for you and your family. We are dedicated to handling the legal complexities of your divorce so you can focus on healing. Connect with us today to learn more about this process.

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