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How Substance Abuse Could Impact Your Michigan Divorce

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state which means that you don’t need a reason to end your marriage. However, a spouse’s drug or alcohol abuse may be relevant to certain aspects of your divorce settlement.

Three Ways Substance Abuse May Impact Your Divorce

A spouse’s substance abuse may impact:

  • Legal custody of children. Joint legal custody is common in Michigan. This means that both parents have the right to make education, religious, medical, and other important decisions for their child absent dangerous or extenuating circumstances. However, if one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol in the child’s presence, then the other parent may try to seek sole legal custody.
  • Physical custody of children. Michigan courts decide physical custody based on the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child standard includes many different considerations, including whether the child would be in danger because of the parent’s substance abuse, the moral fitness of the parent to care for the child, and the parent’s mental and physical health as it relates to caring for the child. For these reasons, substance abuse may be relevant to physical custody determinations.
  • Property division. Generally, marital assets are divided equitably in a Michigan divorce. Equitable does not mean equal, however. If one spouse spent a considerable amount of the couple’s assets purchasing drugs or alcohol or paying drug debts, then the court may consider that when dividing marital property.


If your spouse’s alcohol or drug abuse is relevant to your divorce, then we encourage you to keep a log that includes when you witnessed your spouse’s substance abuse, whether your child was present during that time, and how the substance abuse impacted your child, if applicable. Additionally, you may keep a list of people who witnessed your spouse’s alcohol or drug abuse, including but not limited to friends, relatives, police officers, and social service workers.

Our Bloomfield Hills Divorce Lawyers Are Here for You

We know that a spouse’s substance abuse can hurt the whole family. Our experienced Bloomfield Hills divorce attorneys are here to talk about your needs and concerns. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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