Addressing Divorce Amidst Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Posted by Erin Birt | Feb 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

Are you considering divorce, but alcohol abuse or addiction is a significant factor in your marriage? This could be a crucial warning sign that you might be moving too fast. In a past podcast episode, we delved into the complexities of divorcing when alcoholism or alcohol abuse is present, highlighting essential stages of change, potential risks, and invaluable resources to stabilize the situation. Now, let's explore these key insights further.

Recognizing the Signs: Alcohol's Impact on Divorce

Alcohol abuse within a marriage can create profound turmoil, impacting not only the individuals involved but also the divorce process itself. From the rollercoaster of highs and lows within the family dynamic to the challenges faced during legal proceedings, alcoholism can exacerbate the complexities of divorce.

Understanding the Stages of Change

Drawing from my background as both an attorney and a certified addiction counselor, it's crucial to recognize the parallels between addressing alcohol abuse and contemplating divorce. Individuals often traverse various stages of change, from precontemplation to action, mirroring the thought processes inherent in deciding whether to end a marriage. Just as seeking legal counsel marks a significant step in divorce proceedings, acknowledging the need for support in addressing substance abuse is pivotal.

Navigating the Risks: Safety, Asset Depletion, and Legal Implications

When alcohol abuse is a factor, safety risks loom large, particularly concerning the well-being of children and spouses. Additionally, the depletion of assets due to excessive spending on alcohol presents a financial risk that can significantly impact the divorce settlement. Moreover, the impaired judgment associated with alcohol addiction may raise legal concerns regarding the validity of agreements made during the divorce process.

Embracing Support and Resources

In navigating the complexities of divorce intertwined with alcohol abuse, seeking support is paramount. Individual and family counseling can provide invaluable guidance and emotional reinforcement. Twelve-step or support programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, & Smart Recovery offer a structured support system and a platform for shared experiences. Additionally, exploring non-faith-based programs and online resources can further augment one's support network.

Proceeding with Caution: Ensuring a Stable Divorce Process

Taking the necessary steps to stabilize the situation before initiating divorce proceedings is essential for the well-being of all parties involved. By addressing alcohol abuse head-on and leveraging available resources, individuals can approach divorce with greater clarity and assurance. Ultimately, a well-informed and supported approach sets the stage for a more equitable and sustainable resolution. We recommend our 6 step divorce plan for preparing for your divorce process.


Divorcing amidst alcohol abuse or addiction requires careful navigation and proactive measures to safeguard the interests of all parties involved. By understanding the stages of change, recognizing potential risks, and embracing supportive resources, individuals can embark on a path towards a healthier, more stable divorce process. Remember, seeking professional guidance and support is key to ensuring a successful outcome and laying the groundwork for a brighter future post-divorce.

In summary, while divorcing under these circumstances may present additional challenges, addressing alcohol abuse and addiction early on can pave the way for a more amicable and equitable resolution. By prioritizing safety, seeking support, and approaching the process with diligence and caution, individuals can navigate divorce with confidence and resilience.

Ready to navigate your divorce with confidence and expertise?

Look no further than our firm, where our unique combination of legal acumen and specialized training in addiction counseling sets us apart. With our holistic approach, we're equipped to guide you through even the most complex divorce scenarios, particularly those involving alcohol abuse and addiction.

However, it's important to note that while we excel in addressing divorce cases intertwined with substance abuse, there are certain situations where our services may not be suitable. We do not provide assistance to families or individuals grappling with untreated addiction, untreated alcoholism, untreated substance abuse, or recent instances of domestic violence or abuse.

If you find yourself in any of these circumstances, rest assured that we're committed to connecting you with the appropriate resources and referrals to address your needs effectively. In fact, we recommend that potential clients facing these challenges work with an appropriate professional for a minimum of 30 days before considering our services.

So, if you're ready to embark on a divorce journey characterized by empathy, expertise, and tailored support, reach out to us today. Let's navigate this chapter together and pave the way for a brighter future.

Additional related content you maybe interested in: 

A Warning Sign You Might Be Divorcing Too Fast? (

Parenting Schedules in Illinois (

How Is Adultery Handled in an Illinois Divorce (

Facts, Myths, & Truths About Soberlink and Child Custody (

Our Attorneys

  • Erin Birt

    Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on pa...


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.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

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. 

Are we the right fit for you?

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