Alcoholism is becoming a big problem in the US. Nearly 14 million people in the United States which means one of every 13 adults are alcoholic in nature. Also nearly half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism.
According to US divorce statistics it has been found that divorced or separated men and women are three times more likely to be alcoholics or to have an alcohol problem as compared to married couples. In fact, alcohol is one of the many reasons behind divorce. The habit of drinking in one of the spouse has probably ended more marriages and broken up more families than you can even think of.
Effects of alcohol on marital life:
Alcoholism is a disease with signs like drinking alone, inability to stop drinking and a compulsion to drinks. It is in the nature of alcoholics to lie, make excuses, blame others for their drinking, and continue to use alcohol regardless of the consequences. Hence, being married to an husband who drinks a lot can be challenging for a wife. Here are some of the drawbacks of having an alcoholic life partner:
Distress: When your husband is alcoholic, then the feelings of marital distress are always high. Too much distress in marital life can eventually lead to dissatisfaction and people start looking for ways to escape from the institution of marriage.
Poor communication: When a husband is under the influence of alcohol, it becomes impossible for his wife to communicate with him effectively. Lack of proper communication can give rise to anger, and less warmth and unity in the relationship. Without communication, important issues such as family finances, sexual intimacy, and childrearing decisions go unresolved. This can increase the tension in marital life.
Irresponsible: Due to heavy drinking habit, a person becomes irresponsible in nature. An alcoholic person will not be interested in participating in everyday household tasks and responsibilities. When you don’t get the support of your spouse, you become unhappy of your marital life.
Domestic Violence: Under the influence of alcohol, men are more likely to be verbally and physically violent toward their spouses. Alcohol abuse is connected to increased aggression and marital violence that tends to be more severe and even likely to result in injury. Violence has no place in any relationship.
Negative Influence on Children: When there are small children in a family, alcoholic nature of any one of the parents can lead to psychological distress amongst children. There will also be increase in social, emotional, behavioral, and academic problems, which can be harmful for their future.
Try to Save Your Marriage:
Living with an alcoholic partner xcan be extremely stressful, and hence you need to give yourself time to reflect about the relationship and whether you want to end or continue it. It is true that getting divorce from an alcoholic spouse can help you in many ways. But before taking any step you need to think whether you should do something to save your marriage.
Never forget that alcoholism is a disease and it has got treatments. Your alcoholic spouse definitely needs help. So, try to save your marriage by trying to help your husband get rid of his habit. Alcohol meetings, therapists, support groups or inpatient alcohol treatment facilities can be of great help. Know the treatment options available in your area and call for an appointment if your spouse agrees to get help. You can even ask friends for help. If your spouse doesn’t want help, ask friends to talk with him. Intervention usually includes more than one person. It is a fact that alcoholics cannot treat their own drinking problem no matter how much will power they have. But there is always hope for recovery if support is there.
Keep a close eye on the progress of your husband’s habit of drinking. If you see some improvement, then try to give all the love and care so that he can come out from the clutches of alcoholism.
However, if there is no improvement in the drinking habit of your husband and you find it hard to maintain a healthy atmosphere at home for your children, then you can think of filing a divorce petition in a court. An abusive home atmosphere is not at all good for the overall development of your children. On top of that living with an abusive alcoholic spouse can threaten both your physical safety as well as your emotional well-being.
If you wish to leave your alcoholic spouse, you must be fully prepared – physically, mentally and emotionally. You must do the preparations for a safe exit and have a support system in place to help you through the divorce process.
Here is how you should proceed to divorce your alcoholic husband:
Any court needs evidence when you accuse a person about something. So, collect some evidences to prove that your husband is alcoholic. You can take photos of any evidence of physical violence, such as bruises or broken teeth. Get all copies of police reports, emergency room records and other evidence that indicates your husband’s alcoholic nature.
Search Family Law Practitioner:
Search for a good local family law practitioner and set up a consultation to discuss your legal options. You can take help of your friends or family members when selecting an attorney with experience in domestic abuse cases. The experience and knowledge of your attorney will help in getting divorced from your alcoholic spouse without any hassle.
Leave Your Home:
Once you have made up your mind, you need to make a plan to leave your home safely. If you have children take them with you. Before leaving your home take emergency money, your new bank account details, credit cards, all your important documents, cell phone, clothing and other personal items with you. Always have a safe place to go, such as a friend or relative’s house where your husband will not come looking after you.
Meet Your Lawyer:
Divorce proceedings generally require a lot of paperwork. Hence, you need to set up a meeting with your lawyer to discuss about the papers, the divorce process and anything that you may want to know. Work with your lawyer to negotiate a settlement agreement and legally divorce your abusive alcoholic life partner. With the help of your lawyer file a petition for divorce in your local court.
List of Assets:
One of the important issues discussed in the courtroom is the division of assets. For this you need to find out the value of your marital assets and figure out your share in the assets. Here you will need tax statements, bank account information, mortgage papers, credit card statements and title information.
Create a budget:
Divorce can be expensive. It is not possible to estimate the cost of divorce. So, come up with a realistic budget for you to follow. Don’t spend extravagantly until you succeed in divorcing your husband. In the mean time you need to make a plan regarding what you will be doing after the divorce. You can look for a job or start some business depending upon your budget.
As the decision to divorce your husband is a big step you will need the support of other people. Inform your family members and friends about your decision and discuss with them about your situation. Always try to have a support system of friends and family members whom you can give a call during emergencies. You never know when you may be in need of some help or even good advices and suggestions.
In the US, if you have the proper evidence and all the necessary papers, you can easily get a divorce. Once you have the divorce decree in your hand, it is time to start a new journey. Complete the other formalities like changing your name after divorce, getting a new Social Security Card, driving license and so on. Now you are free to start working on making a new identity for yourself.
Tips and Warnings:
- Always take your children with you and never make the mistake of leaving them behind in a volatile environment.
- Avoid discussions with your husband when he’s drunk as it will lead to more problems in your life.
- Contact authorities if you believe that your home, pets or children are at risk of being harmed once you have decided to move out.
To conclude, living with an alcoholic spouse can be difficult but you must always try to first save your marriage. Only when there is no sign of improvement in the drinking habit of your husband, you need to think about divorce.