An Oklahoma divorce is a very stressful time for both the parents and the children involved. To deal with the stress and anxiety, some people turn to substance abuse. There are many reasons that divorcing parents should avoid substance abuse.
Impaired Decision Making
There is no controversy over the fact that substance abuse impairs decision-making skills. It causes individuals to make unrealistic decisions without consideration of the consequences.
Along with impaired decision making, substance abuse generally exaggerates emotions, lowers inhibitions and causes poor attention and concentration. Individuals are known to say or do things that they would not normally do when under the influence.
Impairs Parental Roles
Along with impaired decision-making skills, substance abuse impairs parental roles. This may take the form of neglecting to provide for the physical, emotional and developmental needs of children or exhibiting erratic and potentially dangerous behavior.
Although some parents may hide their impairment, their children generally notice a difference in behavior. Parents who engage in substance abuse may stop setting and enforcing rules, stop meeting the children’s basic needs and fail to provide adequate supervision. This can result in the children becoming anxious and fearful, and exhibiting behavioral problems.
Divorcing Spouse Can Use it Against You
If your divorcing spouse becomes aware that of your substance abuse during an Oklahoma divorce, he or she has the right under Oklahoma divorce law to file for an emergency hearing regarding custody or visitation. If the court finds that the children’s safety is in danger and they are likely to suffer irreparable harm, you could lose custody and/or visitation rights.
Can Create Additional Legal Problems
In addition to the fact that you could lose custody or visitation rights to your children, substance abuse can result in even more legal problems for you. An Oklahoma divorce can be obtained by no-fault filing and through judicial finding of fault. Habitual drunkenness is grounds for divorce where one spouse is found at fault.
Whether your spouse files a no fault divorce or alleges fault based on chronic drunkenness, evidence of substance abuse could affect decisions about child custody and visitation. If your substance abuse has depleted marital assets, your partner might have a basis to ask for a greater share of what is left.
If you abuse substances around minor children, or you make poor child care decisions while under the influence, you could also be charged with the crime of child neglect or even child abuse, depending on the severity of your neglect. If convicted, you could face up to a year in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
Other legal problems that could arise include driving under the influence charges, unlawful possession of marijuana, possession of controlled substances, possession or paraphernalia and possession with intent to distribute.
While the fines alone on those charges may be severe, you could also face time in jail or prison, depending on your violation. The imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal penal institution is another at-fault ground for divorce in the state of Oklahoma. Imprisonment, of course, is much easier to prove than habitual drunkenness.
A Poor Alternative to Finding New Sources of Comfort
Substance abuse is a very poor alternative to finding healthy outlets for your stress and anxiety. Substance habits could end up causing you many more personal and legal problems before the divorce is over. Better ways to find sources of comfort include reaching out to family and friends, joining support groups, volunteering for organizations such an animal rescue or shelters, and even adopting a pet.
Some of the alternatives available can provide not only a source of comfort, but satisfaction that you are reaching out and helping your community. Volunteering is an activity that you can share with your children. You can learn new skills, meet new friends, and teach your children a valuable lesson about giving back.
Defines Your Social Context in the Wrong Way
When you engage in substance abuse, generally your behavior changes for the worse. You may become irrational, engage in risky behaviors, have extreme mood swings and become unpredictable. Your friends may desert you, it may be difficult to make new friends and you may even lose your job.
When you engage in substance abuse, your social support may be withdrawn and leave you isolated. In a social context, your actions are what define you.
Costs Money You May Not Have
Engaging in substance abuse during an Oklahoma divorce can cost you an enormous amount of money and can even cost your freedom. For example, you could lose a major portion of your assets, you could be required to pay fines on a variety of charges and you could lose your job.
When you have children and are going through a divorce, it is important that you focus on the best interests of your children first rather than turning to substance abuse for your own needs. You should make sure that you keep their needs at the forefront of all of your decisions.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Oklahoma Divorce Attorney
If you or your divorcing spouse are experiencing a substance abuse problem, it is important that you contact a Tulsa divorce attorney to find out what your legal options are in relation to child custody and at-fault divorce. Call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526 to schedule your free consultation today.