Alcoholism is bad for health. It’s a disease that not only causes health problems but also disrupts family relationships that may even lead to many legal issues. Relationships in marriage, parent and the child may suffer due to this problem. This causes divorce and child custody issues as well. Here are some questions that arise about alcoholism and the law.
Q. How can divorce happen due to alcoholism?
It can be a major cause of divorce. One can file a separation agreement and eventually a divorce if someone’s spouse has a drinking problem and if they are worried about his/ her family’s future and well being. A separation agreement is a legal document that covers the time period from when one separates from one’s spouse until divorce is finalized. In order to be valid, the separation agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both the parties.
One may also speak to one’s local family law attorney to consider other options and discuss their intentions and concerns.
Q. What can someone do when one alcoholic spouse abandons the other?
One can request a verdict so that he or she is supported by the alcoholic spouse’s future earnings in case the alcoholic spouse has abandoned the other financially and emotionally. But if there have been no divorce proceedings or separation agreement where both parties are living apart, the court would not interfere. Also, there is no law to compel a husband to support his wife or vice versa.
Q. How is child custody affected by alcoholism?
Most often, in cases where one spouse is an alcoholic, the other spouse decides to separate as a necessity for the benefit of the children. Both parents are equally worried about child custody.
Although the separation agreement provides the terms of a couple’s separation, it also generally solves other issues such as child custody, child support, division of property and alimony.
If one needs an immediate short term solution then one may file a petition for dissolution along with a motion for temporary custody of the children.
If there has been a separation agreement but no custody order, then both parents have equal rights. They can even relocate or travel with the children as they see fit.
Each state has a different child custody law. Some states do not allow a parent to visit their children on the grounds of a history of drug and alcohol abuse. They even restrict child custody.
Q. Are there any specific alcoholism laws?
There are many rules and regulations related to alcoholism across US. There are laws for legal age for alcohol consumption, when and where alcohol may be sold etc, but it is important to be aware of the laws of the state you live in. For instance, 21 years is the legal age to start drinking in US. Violating these laws can have serious consequences like paying heavy fines, or being arrested for a particular time period.
If you have more questions or need help with alcoholism ask a Family Lawyer.