By: C.D. Owens, Esq.
One of the greatest needs in family matters is for everybody involved, i.e., the parties, grandparents, attorneys, etc., to just stop – cease and desist – and back away from all the turmoil and anger – and think!
If there are kids involved, they are the ones who are really going to be hurt. If you have had all you can take with his or her alcohol or drug abuse, you still do not have to decide to just throw your marriage and file for divorce. Addiction can be managed, but it’s a lifelong treatment. If you want to stay married, there are alternatives.
If you decide divorce is the best course of action, the Courts will work with you to facilitate a healthy relationship between your children and spouse. This will require understanding and patience by the parties and their lawyers. You cannot start off by allowing the addicted parent to have a two (2) week unsupervised vacation with the children. You may not even be able to agree to any overnight visitation initially. But – if the parties do want to do it, all of these hurdles can be handled if that is their mutual goal. As stated, it is the kids who are really hurt in these situations.
I had a client who had a drug problem and two (2) children, 6 and 8 years of age. He had failed in every effort to straighten up for three (3) years. His wife filed for divorce and refused to let him see the kids. Then he found himself facing sentencing on a drug conviction. He could have had a six (6) months sentence. He actually told the prosecutor that he wanted to be sentenced to twelve (12) months in jail because he knew that six (6) months would not clean him up. He accepted release after ten (10) months. He’s still clean – and he sees his kids. That is what it takes, i.e., commitment!
There are a lot of tools available in these types of situations. Choosing the right tool depends on the background and environmental factors of the addict’s life and how he or she was raised. For example, if the addict has a religious background, some churches offer experienced counselors, which can produce very successful results. Another options is an in-house rehab program.
In the end, your spouse may not be able to get sober and you may not be able to save your marriage, but saving the relationship between your spouse and children should be a priority.
If you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation. My next blog on the subject of “can this marriage be saved” will deal with domestic violence.