Substance abuse


My spouse has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. After years of this going on we were able to get them to go to rehab. They were in 3 different rehabs in the past 6 months and was at the last one for four months. I told the spouse that if they relapsed again that our marriage was over. We have 3 kids and they have seen the spouse under the influence many times. After being home for 1 week they relapsed again with our youngest child at the house and I told the spouse they could not stay at the house if they were going to use alcohol and drugs. The spouse has not been able to hold a job and I have been the sole provider for the last several years. Now the spouse is saying I abandoned them. I fear for the safety of our kids and my well being. Can the other spouse seek support (alimony, 401k money, bank accounts etc.)? We do not own our house, we rent. Does the spouse have a right to the house? Their name is not on the lease.


I do not know of any document that would simply evict your spouse from the residence. Even though he is not on the lease, he still has a marital interest in the home since you have lived there as your primary marital residence. The only way to force him out would be to file a Divorce from Bed and Board, which asks for a judicial separation, but even if you were granted a divorce from bed and board it could take up to six months and your spouse may still not be evicted. You would need to allege marital misconduct in your DBB Complaint.

If he seeks spousal support, you should be able to use as a defense that he has committed marital misconduct in the form of substance abuse. Marital misconduct can block an otherwise eligible spouse from receiving alimony. You should have ample evidence to support your claim. I do not think his spousal support petition would be successful on these facts.


***not an attorney

But I was married to an addict…it was my experience that when it came down to equitable distribution, the fact that my ex had used marital funds on his “extracurriculars” (drugs/alcohol/strip clubs/porn/gambling/etc), we were able to count the estimated amount that he spent on non-marital things against his portion of equitable distribution. I had evidence of at least $11,000 in expenditures (in the last year and a half, probably could have found much more if I had been able to go back further), and used that to leverage against him getting any of my retirement or value of my vehicle. So, PLEASE go back and see how much proof you can gather of how much money your spouse has spent on drugs/alcohol etc, and keep it for the divorce/mediation.