Substance abuse can make it so hard to leave a marriage. It’s called pro-dependence, the energy and love it takes to manage a relationship when you’re with a partner that has addiction issues. Once you’re divorced, it can be much harder to manage the situation. The courts favor visitation for both parents, but there are things you can do to keep kids safe.
One thing you can do is ask the courts to assign a GAL (Guardian ad Litem) who will assess the custody situation and speak specifically on behalf of the children. A GAL or attorney can make recommendations that monitoring be mandated (see our episode on drug/alcohol monitoring with Steve Paymer) or visitation be supervised. And, even if your kids are young, consider getting them a cell phone so they are empowered to get themselves out of a bad situation. You can establish a call or text code and track them with GPS locators.
And lastly, because the kids may feel protective of the addict parent, getting a therapist just for them is a great way to help flesh out what’s really going on and how they are feeling.
Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.