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What to Expect in a Texas Divorce Involving Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs, is a big reason behind many divorces in America. In one study published in the journal Couple and Family Psychology, 34.6 percent of individuals cited it as the cause behind their divorce. But as to whether substance affects the outcome of your Texas divorce depends on the circumstances of your case.

1. Substance Abuse in a Divorce NOT Involving Children

Generally speaking, substance abuse tends to have a small impact on Texas divorce settlements among couples without children. But there’s still a chance it can be grounds for a fault-based divorce, such as cruelty or domestic violence, especially if you can prove that substance abuse led to acts of cruelty or violence during the marriage.

Substance Abuse and Property Division

If proven that one spouse exhibits characteristics of addiction, the court may take this factor into account when dividing marital assets. In a community property state like Texas, this refers to all assets acquired during the marriage. For the most part, the court divides community property according to what it deems is “just and right”—a phrase whose definition can change depending on the conduct of the addict spouse.

And, if proven that the addict spouse used the community estate for gambling or to purchase alcohol or drugs, you may also claim fraud or waste of marital assets during the divorce to receive a greater share of the community property.

2. Substance Abuse in a Divorce Involving Children

When children are involved, however, the divorce proceedings can take a different turn. According to the Texas Family Code - FAM § 105.001, the court will always decide based on the best interests of the children during a divorce.

Substance Abuse and Child Custody

With a parent who abuses drugs or alcohol in the mix, the court must see to it that the children are kept safe from an abusive environment that could lead to emotional or mental trauma. This may entail a graduated possession schedule or other visitation schemes designed to provide a safe and stable environment for children. Such schedules can range from supervised possession, expanded possession time, and unsupervised possession.

In any case, the rules are largely based on the unique circumstances of your divorce. What’s certain, however, is that the addict parent will have an unlikely chance of getting child custody.

How Will Marijuana Use Affect Child Custody and Visitation in a Texas Divorce?

While a number of states have already decriminalized marijuana, Texas still defers to federal law, treating marijuana an illegal schedule 1 drug. When proven during the divorce proceedings that consumption of marijuana happened in recent months, you can expect orders against it, which may lead to limited visitation until the parent can prove he or she is no longer using (through a drug test).

Consult the Services of a Trusted Texas Family Law Attorney for Divorces Involving Substance Abuse

If alcohol or drug abuse is a big factor in your Texas divorce, get in touch with Austin family law attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm to discuss how best to protect yourself and the safety of your children. Call our offices today at 512.215.5225, or use our contact form to schedule a consultation about your case.

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