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Tips For Divorcing an Addict on Long Island, NY

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Child Protective Services (CPS ), 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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