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Tips For Divorcing an Addict on Long Island, NY

Tips For Divorcing an Addict on Long Island, NY

Tips For Divorcing an Addict on Long Island, NY

Being married to a drug addict can be frightening and stressful. If you’re considering divorce or have already taken the initiative, here are some tips for navigating the process and negotiating a favorable settlement for you and your family.

Gather Documentation of Your Spouse Purchasing & Using Drugs

First and foremost, in order to make a case that your spouse is using illegal drugs, you need to collect compelling evidence of your spouse purchasing and using those drugs. This may not be easy, but it’s important. Collect as much evidence as you can. You may or may not use all of it, but it’s important to gather it while you can and keep it in a safe place away from your home that only you have access to.

Evidence of your spouse’s drug use can be things like:

  • Electronic or paper records of ATM withdrawals for large amounts of cash
  • Photographs or videos of your spouse using drugs
  • Photographs or video evidence of the drugs or drug paraphernalia in your home
  • Emails, text messages, and voicemails from your spouse about drugs or while they were on drugs
  • Medical records from doctors, emergency rooms, and rehab centers that document your spouse’s addiction and recovery attempts (or lack thereof)
  • Witness statements from friends or family members about your spouse’s drug use

The more evidence you have that your spouse is abusing drugs and/or that they are being negatively affected by drug use, the better your chances are at winning a favorable settlement in your divorce.

Create An Exit Strategy

Often, it’s necessary for the spouses of drug addicts to plan ahead before leaving their partners, especially when there are children involved. If this is the case, you may want to consider creating an exit strategy before informing your spouse that you intend to get a divorce or serving them with divorce papers. It’s important to make sure that you and your kids have a safe place to go and access to the resources you’ll need before taking any steps that could alert your spouse.

If your spouse is or has been abusive or you are a victim of domestic violence, you may need to have emergency protective and child custody orders put into place. If they are the primary breadwinner of your family, you may also be able to get emergency temporary spousal support.

Negotiate a Divorce Settlement

Once you’re in a safe place, you can deliver the news to your spouse or stage an intervention to help them get into rehab while you file for divorce. If your spouse is agreeable, you may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement amicably. They may be more likely to do this if they are well known in your community or otherwise have a public reputation that they need to protect.

Bring Forward Evidence as Needed

You may not need to bring forward all of the proof you gathered against your spouse during your divorce. If they’re willing to negotiate and the terms are favorable for you, there may be no need to drag your spouse “through the mud” with proof of their addiction for all to see. That said, it’s important to have the evidence on hand if you need it.

For example, if you have kids and your spouse wants to fight you for custody and visitation, you may need to show the court evidence that proves they are an unfit parent so you can be put in charge of your children’s care. Or if you can show that your spouse spent all of your savings on drugs, you may be able to secure more assets when dividing property during the divorce.

When To Get In Touch With A Qualified Long Island, NY Divorce Lawyer

If you’re involved in a divorce with someone who struggles with drug abuse, you need someone on your side who can provide you with zealous legal advocacy and guidance. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., our team of veteran Long Island, NY divorce attorneys can help you navigate the challenges ahead and pursue an outcome in your family’s best interests.

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation to speak with our New York family lawyers by calling 631-923-1910 or by putting your name and email address in our quick online contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.
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How to Protect Your Child During a CPS Investigation

How to Protect Your Child During a CPS Investigation

How to Protect Your Child During a CPS Investigation

Knock, knock. 

Someone is at the door and to your surprise, it’s an agent from Child Protective Services (CPS). They claim that someone has reported the abuse or neglect of your child and that they’re there to conduct an investigation. The agent asks you to let them into your home; the investigation starts now and they’re allowed to look at anything they want in the best interests of the child.

What do you do?

You should know that CPS typically has an agenda when investigating allegations of abuse. Instead of evaluating all available facts, agents are looking for evidence that supports the allegations of the person that initially reported to the agency.

Here’s the critical information you need if you’re involved in a CPS investigation.



What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Calls CPS

What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Calls CPS

What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Calls CPS

If your ex-spouse calls Child Protective Services, or CPS, your divorce in Nassau or Suffolk County court can become exponentially more difficult. Dealing with CPS is rarely a pleasant experience and even if your ex-spouse has made false claims against you, CPS still has to do its due diligence and fully investigate the situation and ensure the safety of the children in your home environment before closing the case. CPS investigations can make you feel vulnerable. Children may not understand why you are being investigated, and it can be difficult to explain. If your ex-spouse reported you to Child Protective Services, here are the five steps you should take. (more…)

Long Island Family Law Attorney Answers Child Protection Frequently Asked Questions

Long Island Family Law Attorney Answers Child Protection Frequently Asked Questions

 What is a Child Protective Proceeding on Long Island?

A child protective proceeding is commenced by a Long Island child protective agency with a petition in the family court in Nassau County or Suffolk County. If your county or city agency has a concern for abuse or neglect, it can petition the family court and begin an action against the parent or guardian who is suspected of abuse or neglect. The county or city agency is known as the petitioner, and the parent or caretaker that is suspected of abuse or neglect will be the respondent. The goal of these proceedings is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. Sometimes this means the court will have the parent or guardian address and correct problematic behaviors. If the parent or guardian cannot or does not correct abusive behaviors, the child may be removed from the home and placed into kinship or foster care. (more…)

Long Island Family Law Attorney Helps Parents & Other Caretakers During Child Protective Services Investigations in Nassau County and Suffolk County

Long Island Family Law Attorney Helps Parents & Other Caretakers During Child Protective Services Investigations in Nassau County and Suffolk County

Long Island Family Law Attorney Helps Parents & Other Caretakers During Child Protective Services Investigations in Nassau County and Suffolk County

As a Long Island Family Law Attorney, I have helped numerous families through the stressful process of a Child Protective Services investigation in both Nassau County and Suffolk County, NY.

CPS Investigations and the Best Interests of the Child

If a child is removed from a parent’s custody on the grounds of suspected abuse or neglect, this can be a trying time for not only the child, but for the parents and other family members. In many cases, a child will be placed in the care and custody of a family member on a temporary basis for the duration of the Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation. While this temporary custody does not provide long-term legal rights to the care and custody of the child, the placement plays an extremely important role in the child’s sense of safety and wellbeing while a CPS investigation is underway. There is no way of predicting or knowing what the outcome of the investigation will be, so it is most helpful to direct your energy to caring for the child and making sure of your responsibilities as a caretaker are met. (more…)

Long Island Family Law Lawyer Offers Child Protective Help in Nassau County, Suffolk County

Long Island Family Law Lawyer Offers Child Protective Help in Nassau County, Suffolk County

Child Protective Proceedings in New York

As a Long Island Family Law Lawyer practicing in Nassau County and Suffolk County, it saddens me to think of all the cases I’ve seen where a child is in need of protection from their parent.

In cases where it appears that a child under 18 years of age has been abused or neglected or is in danger of being abused or neglected, a child protective proceeding may be commenced by a child protective agency. Abuse is defined as any behavior that results or is very likely to result in serious physical injury to the child, or any sexual offense. Neglect is a failure of the parent to adequately meet the child’s educational, medical, nutritional, or other basic needs.

CPS Petitions Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court for Child
In Nassau County and Suffolk County, this child protective agency is known as Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS can petition the Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court, and the parent or caretaker that is suspected of abuse or neglect will be the respondent.

Fact Finding and Dispositional Hearings
The proceedings are initiated to determine whether the child is or may be in danger of abuse or neglect, and what action if any needs to be taken by the court to ensure the child’s safety. In certain emergency situations in which there is an immediate risk to the health and safety of a child, CPS can remove the child from the home without a court order. If the child is removed, the parent is entitled to a prompt hearing to determine the truth of the allegations, and whether a less severe action is appropriate. A court will hold a “fact-finding hearing” to determine whether abuse or neglect has been proven. A “dispositional hearing” will occur if abuse or neglect has been proven in order to determine the disposition of the child; in other words, the court will determine what services are needed for the family, and whether the child can remain at home with the respondent while those services are offered.

The Roles of CPS, Family Law Lawyers, Law Guardians, Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court in Child Protection Proceedings
CPS will conduct an investigation in order to compile a report for the court’s review. CPS is a government agency that represent the interests of the state – namely, the prevention of child abuse and neglect. While there is a strong public policy against child abuse and neglect, parents also have rights and parents are encouraged to hire a family law lawyer with experience in Child Protection in order to protect these rights. Minor children may also have legal representation by a law guardian, who can protect the child’s legal rights in court. All of these interested parties will appear before a family court in Nassau County or Suffolk County child protective proceeding. The court will consider the interests of all parties within the context of the law to determine the best possible outcome given then circumstances.

Possible Outcomes in Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court
Depending upon the circumstances of each case, possible outcomes include (1) returning the child to the parents or guardians on conditions specified by the court, such as continued monitoring by CPS or completion of mental health or parenting programs, (2) placing the child in foster care while services such as parenting classes or mental health treatment are provided to the parent, (3) releasing the child to a fit and willing relative who will care for the child, known as kinship care. In some kinship care cases, the child will be able to remain in the home with a parent or guardian who is not a respondent, but the respondent parent will be instructed to leave the home for the duration of the proceeding. The court will continue to monitor the progress of the family with periodic updates and hearings.

Foster Care and Kinship Care on Long Island
Foster care and kinship care are temporary solutions to an acute family issue. Ideally, parents and children will be rehabilitated so that any abusive or neglectful behavior ceases and so that children can return home to a healthier family environment. Parents who face intervention by a child protective agency may feel vulnerable, as their rights to parent their children free of state intervention will be threatened. However, it is only in cases of abuse or neglect that the state may intervene against the wishes of the legal parent or guardian of a child. It is important that any parent involved in such a proceeding take it seriously and understand their legal rights.

Contact Long Island Family Law Lawyer to Protect Your Rights in Cases of Child Protection in Nassau County and Suffolk County

Because of the sensitive nature of such a proceeding, it is important that parents seek the counsel of a Long Island family law lawyer experienced with representing parents in such proceedings in Nassau County or Suffolk County Courtrooms. The Law Office of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., is experienced with child protective proceedings and knows the rights of the parents involved. If you are involved in a child protective proceeding, contact us at 631-923-1910 right away for a free consultation.

Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

D-LI eBookCoverCTAsm Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.