Is Drug Abuse Grounds For Divorce?

Is Drug Abuse Grounds For Divorce?

Drug abuse is defined as a "dependence on an illegal drug or a medication," according to the Mayo Clinic. Whether one married partner smokes marijuana regularly, shoots heroin or relies on alcoholic drinks to function, substance addiction or abuse can wreak havoc on the relationship. Yet, is drug abuse grounds to end a marriage?

Two Types of Divorce

Each state in the U.S. sets its own grounds for permanent, legal separation. Two main types exist, however.

1.No fault allows couples to end their legal relationship based on irreconcilable differences or incompatibility. Neither spouse receives sole responsibility for the demise of the relationship.

2. At fault allows one spouse to end the relationship based on something his or her partner did wrong. Depending on the state, the wrongdoing could include:
  • Adultery
  • Mental illness
  • Abandonment
  • Criminal conviction
  • Drug abuse
The Role Substance Abuse Plays in a Relationship's Demise

One or both partners may use alcohol to take the edge off after stressful events or to unwind with friends on the weekend. However, drinking to function during the day or allowing alcoholic drinks to be the focus of the day is considered an addiction. That addiction can cause blackouts, memory loss, impaired judgment, depression and a host of other physical and emotional impairments. All of these side effectsadversely affect a marital relationship and family and can lead to physical, verbal or emotional abuse.

The same applies to drug use. Improper use of pills, powder and other substances produce mind-altering effects that lead to dangerous situations in the home. Adultery, imprisonment and crime, all viable reasons for a legal end to a relationship, could result.

Do Drugs Spell the End of a Relationship?

Ultimately, spouses may have grounds to end their relationship if they can prove in court that drug or alcoholism poses a threat to them or the children. Each situation is different, so a spouse must talk to an attorney for further advice.