How Heavy Drinking Can Impact Marriage

Studies have shown that heavy drinking can negatively impact a marriage.  In one study, researchers found that while couples who have similar drinking patterns file for divorce about 30 percent of the time, when one person in a relationship engages in heavy drinking, those couples file for divorce about 50 percent of the time.  Researchers have found little evidence that moderate drinking leads to serious negative consequences in a marriage.  The same cannot be said, however, for heavy alcohol use.

Consequences of Heavy Drinking in Relationships

There are a variety of consequences in relationships, due to heavy drinking.  Not every relationship experiences every negative consequence listed below, and not every heavy drinking incident includes a negative consequence.  However, research shows the following consequences that are prevalent in relationships where one or both parties are heavy drinkers.

  • Verbal abuse is twice as likely when alcohol has been consumed within the past four hours
  • Alcohol use has been linked to both physical and psychological aggression and domestic violence
  • Women report substance abuse or alcohol abuse as the third leading cause of divorce
  • Men report substance abuse or alcohol abuse as the eighth leading cause of divorce
  • Couples who seek marital counseling cite alcohol and substance abuse as one of their main motivators for counseling
  • Lower rates of marital satisfaction are reported in relationships where heavy drinking, alcohol problems, and substance abuse are present

Consequences of Heavy Drinking on the Children

Children raised in homes where there is heavy drinking can experience negative consequences.  Of note, children often suffer more negative consequences when both parents are heavy alcohol users.  Negative consequences children face include the following:

  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Low self esteem
  • Feelings of inadequacies
  • Difficulty with intimacy
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Anger issues
  • A lack of understanding of what is considered “normal” behavior.

When a Spouse is Dealing With Alcohol Abuse or Substance Abuse

Every divorce comes with its own challenges. When a spouse has an issue with drugs or alcohol, this can complicate a divorce or family law matter even further.  Considerations such as parental responsibility, time-sharing and child support are paramount.  In this situation, it is often best to include child custody evaluators who have familiarity with substance or alcohol abuse issues in the family.  Addressing these issues openly and honestly is essential to protecting the children.

Divorce and Substance or Alcohol Abuse

Spouses of heavy drinkers are often accustomed to covering up or minimizing  alcohol or substance abuse.  Consequently, it may be difficult for them to be honest about their situation when first meeting with a family law attorney to discuss separation or divorce options.  At Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we have handled countless divorce cases where one or both spouses struggled with alcohol or substance abuse.  Addressing the very real concerns of a chemically dependent spouse, while being respectful of their situation, is essential.  Eric Cheshire knows that a substance and/or alcohol dependency is a complicated issue.  He also knows, however, that the safety and security of the children are paramount in a divorce involving a spouse who is dealing with these issues.  Let Eric put his experience to work for you and your family.  Call (561) 677-8090 today for a confidential consultation to discuss your personal situation.

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