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The impact of drug addiction on your divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | blog, Family Law |

The repercussions of drug addiction extend far beyond the health of the person involved. They reach into the legal realm as well, especially when it comes to divorce. According to Statista, there were 3.2 divorces for every 1,000 North Carolina residents in 2021, many of which involved drug-addicted spouses.

If you or your spouse are dealing with drug addiction during a divorce in North Carolina, it is essential to understand how this can shape the divorce proceedings and its outcome.

Custody and visitation rights

Drug addiction can significantly influence child custody and visitation rights in a divorce. North Carolina courts prioritize the best interests of the child, which means the parent with a drug addiction can potentially face restrictions on custody and visitation. The court may award primary custody to the non-addicted parent or may even grant supervised visitation to the parent with a drug problem to ensure the child’s safety.

Marital property division

In North Carolina, courts divide marital property equitably. However, it is important to remember that does not necessarily mean equally. While drug addiction does not automatically affect property division, the courts may consider it if one spouse has squandered marital assets due to their addiction. This could lead to an uneven division favoring the non-addicted spouse.


Drug addiction can also impact alimony or spousal support decisions. If you are seeking alimony and you have a drug addiction, it could affect the court’s decision about your need or your ability to make use of the funds responsibly. Conversely, if you have to pay alimony and have a drug problem, the court might factor in your rehabilitation costs when determining the amount.

Importance of evidence

Proving a drug addiction in divorce proceedings is not based on hearsay or suspicion. It relies heavily on tangible evidence. This could include drug test results, criminal records related to drug use or testimony from witnesses about the drug-related behavior.

The presence of drug addiction in a divorce can complicate matters considerably. It is essential to understand these potential impacts and navigate the process thoughtfully. Regardless of the circumstances, the court’s primary concern remains the welfare of any children involved.