Alcohol & Divorce: How Alcoholism Can Affect Your Divorce

Divorce is a complex and emotionally taxing process, and when factors like alcoholism come into play, the situation can become even more challenging. In this article, we delve into how alcoholism can impact various aspects of divorce proceedings in Oklahoma.

Alcoholism as Grounds for Divorce

Under Oklahoma law, habitual drunkenness is classified as a fault-based ground for divorce. This means that if one spouse has a persistent issue with alcohol, it can be a valid reason for the other spouse to seek a divorce. The court will require proof of habitual drunkenness, which could include evidence of alcohol-related incidents, such as DUI charges or repeated public intoxication, or testimony from witnesses who can attest to the spouse's alcohol problem.

Alcoholism Can Lead to Domestic Violence & Abuse

Unfortunately, alcoholism can often lead to instances of domestic violence, abuse, or mistreatment. Long-term alcohol abuse can have severe psychological and physiological effects that significantly impact domestic relationships.

Alcoholism can often lead to instances of domestic violence towards spouses and children because chronic alcohol consumption can alter the brain's chemistry, causing changes in mood, behavior, and cognitive functions. From a psychological perspective, it can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and aggression, which can escalate conflicts within a household.

Physiologically, alcohol abuse can result in liver disease, lung disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, which can further strain family dynamics due to the associated health issues and costs. Also, excessive alcohol use can lead to dependency or alcoholism, causing a cycle of addiction that often exacerbates domestic violence. Thus, instances of abuse can have a significant impact on divorce proceedings.

For example, if a spouse can prove that the other spouse's alcoholism has led to abusive behavior, it may influence decisions about child custody or alimony. Courts prioritize the safety and well-being of children, and if one parent's alcoholism poses a risk, they are less likely to receive custody.

Wasteful Dissipation & Alcoholism

Wasteful dissipation is a legal concept that refers to the reckless spending or waste of marital assets. If a spouse can prove that the alcoholic spouse has been wastefully dissipating assets—for instance, by spending large amounts of money on alcohol or related activities—it could affect the division of property during the divorce. The non-alcoholic spouse may be awarded a greater share of the marital property to offset the wasted assets.

Preparing for a Divorce Where Alcoholism is a Factor

If you're considering a divorce and your spouse struggles with alcoholism, it's important to prepare effectively. Gather evidence to demonstrate the extent of your spouse's alcohol problem and its impact on your marriage and family life. This could include police reports, medical records, or testimonies from friends and family. It's also crucial to document instances of wasteful dissipation.

Talk with Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys

At Nichols Dixon, we are committed to offering our clients honest and efficient representation. Should you be considering divorce from an alcoholic spouse or involved in a case where the other party is accusing you of habitual drunkenness, our attorneys can offer you personalized counsel and strategies to work toward the best possible case results.

To schedule an initial consultation, call (405) 294-1511.