When a home environment becomes a warzone, those involved need to take action to remedy the situation as best possible. Whether due to addiction, or some other mental illness, the best way to safeguard those in the household is to seek legal advice. Talking to a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re betraying those experiencing difficulties at the moment. Many people associate seeking legal advice with negative experiences. Don’t let your preconceived notions or bias prevent you from doing the right thing. You need to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Addiction affects more and more people every year. Nearly 1 in 10 American adults now struggling with some type of addiction, according to the CDC. The average U.S. household is taking the brunt of the chaos this devastating mental illness causes. Addiction is a mental illness that can cause people to behave impulsively, unpredictably and to make decisions that put themselves and others in danger. Children of people in active addiction often suffer significant abuse and neglect as a result of the parent or family member’s actions.
Many other mental illnesses and situational problems can lead to trauma and family dysfunction. Depression is the number one mental illness, with 1 in 6 adults having depression in their lifetime, according to the CDC. It’s considered the leading cause of disability by the World Health Organization and can turn a happy home into a place one wants to avoid.
Other mental illnesses such as PTSD, personality disorders, and anxiety disorders can also create a dysfunction family environment. When one or more people in the home become depressed or addicted, it usually means that the kids and/or spouse are neglected. The groceries don’t get bought, work is abandoned, money becomes an issue, and every conversation is an argument.
A family attorney can help you find the answer to the problem you’re facing. Family attorneys deal with divorce, custody issues, alimony and support, as well as other matters such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Many attorneys offer a free consultation and are willing to work with you financially. If you’re unsure whether an attorney is right for you, click here for more information about family attorneys or search for “family attorneys near me”.
Divorce is the necessary next step in many dysfunctional family situations. In the case of addiction, divorce may help all involved. Staying in an abusive or detrimental environment only enables the dysfunction to continue. You need to make a statement that negative behavior has consequences and show that you’re not willing to live in chaos any longer.
Divorce lawyers can help you understand and navigate the divorce process. Understand that filing for divorce doesn’t make you a failure or mean you’re abandoning people in your life. A divorce may allow you the peace and freedom you need to thrive. Your spouse won’t get better without a strong impetus that propels him or her into treatment. The pain must be great enough to change.
No one likes the idea that their marriage is over. You must think of yourself and your children’s best interests. Staying in an abusive relationship teaches your children that abuse is acceptable and normal. Leaving that environment teaches them that they should value their self-worth and demand that others treat them well.
Nothing is more stressful than an ugly custody dispute. You need a good attorney to guide you through these difficult times. Remember that what you’re doing is for the safety and best interests of the children. You need a plan and a realistic understanding of the road ahead of you.
Custody disputes can take a significant amount of time. If you’re filing for sole custody, the case likely will go to court, which is both time consuming and costly. If your spouse is abusive, then sole custody is necessary for the safety of the children. In cases of addiction, sole custody is recommended since your spouse cannot be relied upon to be sober and cognizant of the child’s well-being when present. However, if he or she is negligent and cannot be relied on to care for the children but is not particularly abusive, then visitation rights might be something to consider.
There are many factors to understand when it comes to custody disputes. If your spouse is suffering from a mental illness other than addiction, then shared custody may be the better option. The stress and time a sole custody battle requires should only be pursued if your spouse is a threat or a significantly negative influence. Make sure you’re making decisions based on your children’s best interests and not on how you currently feel about your spouse. You and your spouse may not like each other. However, if he or she is supportive and loving towards the children you should allow for them to cultivate a relationship with their other parent.
The Value of Legal Safety
This is likely one of the hardest times of your life and you need a good lawyer to help you through it. A good support system is key to successfully making it through these next few months or years. Your lawyer is your coach through the most difficult game of your life and you need to feel confident in his or her direction. The legal process requires time, patience and a good deal of waiting and planning. You may go a few months between hearings or changes to the case. However, remember why you started the battle in the first place and what’s at stake.
Despite the stress and strain a legal battle entails, the result is often worth the endeavor. You and your family deserve to be and feel safe at home without having to worry about what new crisis is brewing. A divorce provides you with the full separation and autonomy to move forward in life. Custody arrangements allow for a more stable and controllable family environment. This may not be the happy ending you wanted, but it can be the start of a new, happy and healthy life.