Men’s Guide to Divorcing an Alcoholic Spouse in NJ: How to Protect Yourself
If you’re considering divorcing an alcoholic spouse, you likely have a multitude of concerns and questions about the process. As a divorce lawyer for men who has worked with numerous clients in similar situations, I understand the complexities and challenges that can arise during this difficult time. It’s important to protect yourself legally from abusive tactics, volatile behavior, and the harmful effects of addiction.
Common Challenges of Divorcing an Alcoholic
Divorcing an alcoholic in New Jersey can bring about a variety of unique issues that may not be present in a typical divorce case. These may include:
Substance abuse- Substance abuse and addiction can cause a variety of problems during divorce proceedings. For example, an alcoholic spouse may be unable to meet the financial obligations of the divorce, including spousal and child support.
Custody battles- Divorce proceedings involving an alcoholic spouse may involve custody battles. The alcoholic spouse may be deemed unfit to care for their children, which can complicate the process.
Division of assets- The division of assets can be difficult in any divorce case, but it can be particularly challenging in a divorce involving an alcoholic spouse. The spouse may have spent significant amounts of money on their addiction, which may impact the division of assets.
Protecting Yourself Legally
If you’re divorcing an alcoholic spouse, it’s important to protect yourself legally from common manipulation tactics and even your spouse’s potentially dangerous behavior. This may include obtaining a restraining order if necessary. A restraining order can prevent your spouse from contacting you or coming near you, which can be particularly important if you feel unsafe or threatened. It’s also important to work with a family lawyer who has experience handling divorce cases involving substance abuse. A New Jersey family lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce proceedings.
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Volatile and Harmful Behaviors
Alcoholism can cause volatile and harmful behaviors that can make the divorce process even more difficult. For example, an alcoholic spouse may become verbally or physically abusive, which can be particularly concerning if there are children involved.
An alcoholic spouse may also be unable to make sound decisions, which can make it difficult to negotiate during the divorce process. They may make promises that they are unable to keep or be unable to meet the obligations set out in the divorce agreement. In extreme cases, an alcoholic spouse may become violent, which can be dangerous for you and your family. If you feel that you or your children are at risk, it’s important to contact the authorities and seek a restraining order.
Steps to Get Divorced in New Jersey
If you’re considering divorcing an alcoholic spouse in New Jersey, there are several steps that you’ll need to take to initiate the divorce process. These include:
- Filing a complaint for divorce: To initiate the divorce process, you’ll need to file a complaint for divorce with the court. The complaint should include information about your marriage, such as the date of marriage, the grounds for divorce, and any other relevant information.
- Serving the complaint: After you file the complaint, you’ll need to serve it to your spouse. This can be done by certified mail or by having a process server deliver the documents in person.
- Waiting period: In New Jersey, there is a mandatory waiting period of 35 days before the divorce can be finalized. During this time, your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
- Negotiations and settlement: Once the waiting period has passed, negotiations and settlement discussions can begin. This is when you and your spouse will work out the details of the divorce, such as division of assets, child custody and support, and spousal support.
- Trial: If negotiations and settlement discussions are unsuccessful, the case may proceed to trial. You may feel concerned about how to prove alcoholism in court, but it’s not always necessary. If your attorney thinks your spouse’s alcoholism could play into the judge’s decision, they will help you gather all the proof you need.
Caring for Yourself During and After the Divorce
Separating or divorcing an alcoholic can be a challenging and emotional process, but it’s important to prioritize your own well-being and healing. It’s common to experience feelings of grief, anger, and sadness after a divorce, especially when alcoholism was involved.
One important step in moving on is seeking support from someone you can trust, like loved ones or a therapist. Talking about your experiences and feelings with someone who understands and can offer guidance can be helpful in processing your emotions and moving forward. It’s also important to take care of yourself physically by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in physical activity that you enjoy.
Another important step in moving on is setting boundaries with your ex-spouse, especially if they continue to struggle with addiction. This may mean limiting or cutting off contact, and being firm in your decisions. It’s also important to focus on your own goals and aspirations, and to work on developing new hobbies and interests that bring you joy. Above all, remember that healing is a process and it takes time. It’s okay to feel a range of emotions and to take things one day at a time. With patience, self-care, and support, you can move on from your divorce and create a fulfilling life for yourself.
Whether you’re divorcing a high functioning alcoholic or an individual who has lost everything because of their addiction, you need an experienced family law attorney by your side. The Micklin Law Group’s divorce lawyers for men have helped many spouses of alcoholics break free from their toxic marriages, and we can help you. Contact our team to get started.