What Do I Do If My Spouse Is An Alcoholic Or Takes Drugs?

I was once before a Judge in the Superior court of New Jersey on a Domestic Violence case and he said, “We have eighteen Judges here in this Court.  If it wasn’t for some kind of substance abuse, we would need only five Judges.”  

I never forgot this ratio. This is true in every jurisdiction.  No economic or social group or family is exempt from being affected by drug and alcohol abuse.  

Because of substance abuse, the Courts hear hundreds of Domestic Violence cases in which alcohol or drugs play a part in violent, criminal or stupid behavior.  

There are child neglect cases in which a parent has become a heroin addict. The family may find needles and drug paraphernalia around the house. The addict is unable to control his need for drugs.  Besides counseling, there are very expensive medical treatments to suppress the need for drugs. It leads to divorce and financial hardship.  The Courts will require the addict to get treatment before he can supervise his/her own children.  

There are hundreds of juvenile criminal cases in which teenagers from all backgrounds including wealthy suburbs get pills and painkillers and sell or share them with their friends.  The parents take such pills by prescription; thus, pill taking is a regular occurrence in the home.  

There are drunk driving cases every week in every municipality in New Jersey.  The guilty person at a minimum can lose his/her driver’s license for seven months.  

Substance abusers have friends and associates who take drugs.  I know from cases I have handled that if you associate with people who abuse drugs or alcohol, you are more likely to get hooked also, or will get involved with irresponsible conduct.  You will then be involved with the police.  People’s friends are an enormous influence on a person’s life.  Alcohol and drug use are temporary “pain killers”.  They also destroy relationships.  If you or someone you know is having problems with drugs or alcohol, please seek treatment for yourself and to help those around you.

For a free half hour consultation call Helfand & Associates at 973-428-0800, 0ur experienced matrimonial attorneys, handling all aspects of Family Law.  Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney, a Mediator and Panelist in the Morris and Essex County ESP Programs.  The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at [email protected]. We handle cases in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Hudson, Union, Somerset, Sussex and other New Jersey counties.