Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce

Posted by Erin Birt | Oct 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, Wheaton Collaborative Divorce Attorney and Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Erin Birt, presented at the 12th Annual Forum for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals in Chicago, IL. Her educational seminar was entitled, “Alcohol/Addiction and the Family in Collaborative Divorce.” This post will focus on Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce.

Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce – Why?

During the past 10 years, Ms. Birt noticed that many families seeking a divorce were also, either knowingly or not, dealing with substance abuse issues within the family. Unfortunately, very few divorce professionals are familiar with substance abuse, dependency, and the effects on the family.

In 2008, to learn more substance abuse, Ms. Birt began attending courses and working in the field of alcohol and drug counseling.  She gained valuable experience as an instructor for a DUI risk education program and working with individuals admitted to GlenOaks Hospital's inpatient behavioral health program.

Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce – Unique Dual Skills

Today, clients of Ms. Birt greatly benefit from her knowledge of substance abuse.  She often works with individuals that are struggling to cope with certain life events such as adjusting to marriage, divorce, separation, or other legal consequences such as a DUI.

Learning how to cope with such life transitions without alcohol or drugs can be difficult.  Families benefit when they work with professionals that are knowledgeable and able to help motivate positive change.

Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce – Prevalence of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse or dependency issues typically emerge in early adulthood, around the same time young adults contemplate marriage. First marriages often suffer due to substance abuse.  Using substances to intoxication causes an interruption in the development of the marital relationship and interferes with marital responsibilities.

Responding to the correlation between substance abuse and divorce, Ms. Birt is spreading the word that divorce professionals should receive training on screening for substance abuse, the symptoms of substance abuse and dependency, substance abuse and the effects on the family, and divorce options that minimize conflict and costs.

Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce – A Better Divorce Process

One option to minimize conflict and cost is a Collaborative Divorce.  It is a proactive alternative dispute resolution strategy that is also child friendly. The couple retains collaborative divorce attorneys and has the option to work with neutral team members, such as Divorce Coaches & Financial Professionals, that are trained to reduce time, costs, and the emotional scars of a divorce.

To learn more about how a  substance abuse counselor can be integrated into the neutral divorce team and the Collaborative Divorce services offered by Erin Birt, please visit or contact our office directly at (630) 891-2478. She can focus on Alcoholism, Addiction & Collaborative Divorce while you focus on you and your family.

Schedule a Consultation with Attorney Erin Birt

About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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Family Centered Divorce ∙ Mediation ∙ Co-Parenting

Birt Family Law is the family centered law and mediation practice with a focus on Restorative Divorce; offering creative and supportive legal and mediation solutions with one goal: keeping the separating family out of court and working together towards a positive resolution.

We offer multiple options to achieve this goal including mediation, coaching, co-parenting strategies, and restorative divorce services. 

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Birt Family Law is committed to keeping the separating family out of court and working together towards a positive resolution.