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How Substance Abuse Can Affect a Florida Divorce


Thousands of people in Florida suffer from substance abuse problems for alcohol, opioids, and other controlled substances. In many cases, the stress of a spouse with a substance abuse problem can lead to a divorce. If you are in a similar situation in a Florida divorce case, it is important to know how substance abuse may affect almost every major aspect of your divorce case. At the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa Bay, our legal team is here to help explain how substance abuse may impact your divorce. Call or contact the office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Substance Abuse and Child Custody

The area where substance abuse of a spouse plays the most significant role is in discussions about child custody and visitation. While courts do not usually take occasional or moderate drinking of alcohol into consideration in custody matters, alcohol addiction or substance abuse of other controlled substances is a strong consideration when determining custody and visitation for a minor child.

The parent that does not have a substance abuse issue is far more likely to be the custodial parent of the child and have primary physical and legal custody. If visitation is allowed with the parent suffering from substance abuse, visits may be monitored and overnight visits may not be allowed. The noncustodial parent may also be required to submit for regular drug and alcohol screenings or receive some type of substance abuse treatment in order to continue to see their child.

Substance Abuse and Property Distribution

The court may also take substance abuse into consideration when determining the property distribution between spouses. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property must be split equitably, but not necessarily equally. A judge may determine that the sober spouse deserves a larger portion of the marital estate, especially if the spouse with substance abuse issues used marital property to fund their addiction. This serves as a form of reimbursement to the sober spouse during the divorce for the actions of the addicted spouse.

Substance Abuse and Alimony

In a similar vein, the court may also take substance abuse issues into account when determining the appropriateness of alimony payments. If the court believes that the spouse with addiction issues will use the alimony payments to fund their substance abuse they may reduce or eliminate alimony payments from the wealthier spouse. This is especially the case if the addicted spouse had already used marital finances to support their substance abuse during the course of the marriage.

Let Us Help You Today

Substance abuse issues can impact almost all aspects of a Florida divorce, including but not limited to the matters discussed in this article. If you would like to learn more about how substance abuse may affect your divorce and to discuss your legal options with an experienced Tampa divorce attorney, call or contact the office of Blair H. Chan, III today.





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