Substance abuse is a growing problem in Canada. While it hasn’t yet reached epidemic proportions, it’s on a steady upswing that’s responsible for destroying marriages and family relationships all over the country. Many North York divorce lawyers report working more frequently with clients affected by substance abuse (in some form or another) than ever before.

In some cases, substance abuse begins during or after divorce; one spouse uses drugs or alcohol, hoping it will help them escape from the situation they’re in. Substance abuse is particularly problematic for couples who share children: kids may be subjected to a parent who’s under the influence, which can be both emotionally and physically harmful.

If you suspect your ex has an issue with substance abuse, let your North York divorce lawyer know immediately. He or she will provide you with targeted legal advice to bring the substance abuse to light. Additionally, if you are suffering from substance abuse problems, your North York divorce lawyer needs to know so he or she can protect you during your divorce and assist you in getting the help you need.

What Your North York Divorce Lawyer Might Recommend

Substance abuse has far-reaching effects. The consequences are never limited to just the abuser, and your North York divorce lawyer understands that. Your ex’s substance abuse problem may have a major impact on your case, especially when it comes to visitation with, and custody of, minor children.

Your North York divorce lawyer may recommend that you and your children see a local family therapist to help you deal with the difficult emotions that arise when a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol. According to Statistics Canada, parents with an alcohol problem are 21 percent more likely to physically abuse kids; those who use drugs (including marijuana and solvents) are 17 percent more likely to commit child abuse.

In addition to family therapy, your North York divorce lawyer may want you to bring your concerns up as part of your divorce. If you are already divorced, but have children in common with a suspected substance abuser, your North York divorce lawyer may suggest that you seek to revamp your visitation and custody arrangements in an effort  to protect your children.

If You Suspect Substance Abuse…

Whether you’re in the process of divorcing your spouse or you’ve already received your divorce certificate, your actions will likely depend on whether you have children and the extent to which you wish to help your ex.

If you’ve already started your divorce proceedings, tell your North York divorce lawyer that you suspect your ex is abusing alcohol or drugs. This is important, even if you don’t have children, because the effects of substance abuse are so profound.

Visitation and Apparent Substance Abuse

Never leave your children with your ex when he or she is obviously under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Your North York divorce lawyer can help you explain to the court if you are questioned about keeping your kids home during normal visitation with the other parent.

Personal Substance Abuse

Your North York divorce lawyer needs to know if you have an issue with substance abuse so he or she can continue to look out for your best interests during your divorce. Your ex may bring up your issues in court, and your North York divorce lawyer needs to be prepared by knowing all the facts. He or she may also recommend that you seek treatment, either by working with a local substance abuse professional or finding a therapist to help you confront the problem.