Collaborative divorce: an option for people with addictions

Your spouse’s addiction cast a pall on your marriage. That addiction took up a great amount of space in your relationship, and, as a result, you see no other choice but to pursue divorce.

For the divorce process, you want things to go gently, because your spouse – despite addiction issues — has been a good parent. Collaborative divorce may be the right approach. In this situation, collaborative divorce has tremendous advantages over divorce litigation.

Creating a plan together, avoiding litigation

In collaborative divorce, each spouse – accompanied by their respective attorneys – meets in a private setting, discusses and negotiates with the ultimate goal of coming to an agreement. In a way, your attorney is a “divorce coach,” who guides you, provides important insight and helps that agreement become reality.

Because you and your soon-to-be-former spouse work together, your parenting plan promises to be more durable. At the same time, you also will avoid severe judgment from the court.

Divorce litigation typically pits parents against each other in any divorce situation. Adding the addiction issue to the mix promises to release a new set of challenges, namely for the addict parent. A judge likely will harshly view an addict parent. Holding firmly to that bias, the court may use those addiction problems to further distance the parent in question.

What if the parent relapses?

Also, during the collaborative divorce process, do not forget the possibility that the addict parent may have a relapse. In such a situation, you may together assemble a plan where the two of you propose how the addict parent will get back on track – maybe through therapy or a rehabilitation program.

This addendum provides some “insurance” in assuring that the addict parent will continue with his or her role as a parent figure in the child’s life again.

Getting back on track

Collaborative divorce sets the addict parent back on track. You did not rely on a judge to make this agreement. You relied on yourselves. Your input created this agreement, and the two of you did so for a much lower cost compared with divorce litigation.

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