April 5, 2022
An occasional day at the races betting on the ponies isn’t a problem. The same is true for an occasional weekend in Atlantic City. But when your spouse is betting on sports or games of chance almost every day, you may need to act.
If you are lucky, you can get them the professional help they need to break the addiction. But that isn’t always an option. And if it creates enough friction in your marriage, you may eventually need a divorce lawyer.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
The Mayo Clinic lists numerous signs that a person might have a gambling addiction.
Your spouse may have an addiction if you see any of the following signs:
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Making very large bets
- Restlessness or irritability
- Constantly borrowing money from others
- Lying about gambling activities
If you notice any of these signs, seek help immediately. If you notice several or all of these signs and your marriage has become impossible you may need to speak with a divorce attorney. If a divorce lawyer gets involved early, they can protect your finances and may even occasionally be able to save your marriage.
Why File for Divorce?
Gambling is designed so that the house always wins. If your partner gambles regularly, they are losing money.
Furthermore, because of how addiction works, your spouse needs more stimulation to get pleasure every time they engage in the addiction. Stated simply, your spouse will make bigger and more frequent bets as time goes on.
The result is that your family is losing more money than you can afford. If your marriage is on the rocks, a divorce attorney can help stop this financial harm from affecting you.
Ways a Divorce Attorney Can Protect You?
The biggest problem when your spouse has a gambling addiction is that they are spending money that you need for household expenses. If your partner spends your rent or mortgage money on gambling, you could be out of a home soon.
A divorce lawyer can safeguard your assets by setting up separate accounts or otherwise preventing your partner from accessing certain funds. Your lawyer will also audit your accounts to determine how much damage your partner is doing to your finances.
These measures are important if the divorce proceedings end up in court. If you can prove that your partner’s gambling addiction was causing significant damage, you are almost certain to be awarded more of the family assets during the divorce.
Harm to Your Children
Many gambling addicts end up harming their children through their actions. For example, it isn’t uncommon for gambling addicts to raid their children’s college funds for more capital when they run out of money. Your divorce lawyer can intervene and remove your spouse’s access to those funds.
Gambling addictions can also affect custody arrangements. Addictive behavior is dangerous and often results in negligence. A child custody attorney will use these facts to improve your chances of getting full custody of your children after a divorce.
Do You Have to Pay Back All that Debt?
Both assets and debts are usually joint marital assets. That means you are responsible for the debts of your spouse. However, exceptions to the general rule allow you to separate some debts during a divorce.
If your attorney can prove that your spouse was building debt against your wishes, a divorce court might determine that the debt is the sole responsibility of your partner.
Any evidence of theft or fraud committed by your partner will help prove your case. However, if you cannot separate your debts, you will need to pay back your share of the debt-including the gambling debts. If your lawyer cannot prevent this from happening, they can help you find ways to do this.
After the Divorce
Unfortunately, this ordeal is unlikely to end when the divorce ends. Most gambling addicts are unable to pay their expenses after a divorce. This means that you are unlikely to receive alimony or child support. Your attorney will make every effort to get you both, but you should know this in advance.
Your child custody lawyer has a better chance of getting you delinquent child support than alimony. Courts are more willing to take action when children are involved.
A child custody attorney can petition to get the courts to garnish your ex-spouse’s wages, potentially getting you some of the money you deserve. Similarly, the IRS offers assistance in acquiring delinquent child support.
Debt Collectors May Go After You
Another common dilemma after a divorce is aggressive debt collectors. Even if your divorce agreement delineates who is required to pay respective debts, you may get hounded by debt collectors who cannot get money from your ex-spouse.
And simply telling them to go away may not be enough. Often that will result in damage to your credit rating, even though you aren’t legally responsible for those debts. And clearing that damage will take a lot of work.
Your lawyer will help you deal with the debt collectors and prevent harassment fast. They can talk to credit report agencies in advance of the situation to ensure that the debts and delinquency of your ex-spouse don’t harm your credit.
Hire a Divorce Attorney to Protect Your Family and Finances
Nobody wants a divorce. And if professional help can save your family and your finances, you are one of the lucky few. Unfortunately for most, once a spouse becomes deeply addicted to gambling, it often leads to divorce.
Regardless of whether you want to save your marriage or not, retain a lawyer at the first sign of gambling addiction. And if you have children, make sure your attorney is a child custody lawyer.
The earlier you speak with a lawyer, the earlier your lawyer can start protecting you and your children’s assets, gathering evidence, providing additional resources, and filing motions with the court.