What to know about divorcing a gambling addict?


According to The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), about one percent of American adults have a severe gambling problem. Unfortunately, like any addiction, gambling can significantly strain a marriage as trust is typically broken. Gambling addictions can also destroy a family’s finances, ultimately leading to divorce. If your partner has a severe gambling addiction, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled Pensacola Divorce Lawyer who can help you protect your future. Please continue reading to learn how to prepare to divorce a compulsive gambler.

Is gambling grounds for divorce?

Even though gambling often affects marriage in the same way as alcohol or drugs, gambling is not grounds for divorce. Although it is not explicitly listed as grounds for divorce, under certain circumstances, the category of extreme cruelty can be used for severe gambling addictions. In most cases, individuals file for divorce based on grounds of extreme cruelty when emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, or physical abuse is present in the relationship. In marriages where one spouse is a compulsive gambler, this type of abuse is typically current, thus giving validity for filing for divorce.

Will I be responsible for paying their debts?

During a divorce, you and your spouse will face various issues that must be sorted out, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Florida and Alabama are both equitable distribution states, meaning the marital property will be split fairly between divorcing couples. However, that does not necessarily mean that their marital property will be divided in an even 50/50 split. In most cases, marital property includes any debts accumulated during the marriage. That said, if your spouse accumulated debt during the marriage due to their gambling addiction, you may be liable for paying a portion of their debts.

Generally, if your spouse racked up a substantial amount of debt due to their gambling addiction during your marriage, you may be able to argue to the court that you are not responsible for those debts and did not consent to their gambling activities. If you can prove that they used marital assets to fuel their addiction, the court may not distribute a portion of their debt to you, or they will award you a more significant share of your marital assets to reimburse you for assets lost due to your spouse’s addiction.

To prepare and protect yourself during your divorce, you must collect as much documentation on your household financial information as possible. This will help you protect your finances as you will have proof that you should not be responsible for paying your spouse’s gambling debts as they wasted your marital assets to further their addiction. Furthermore, the best way to protect yourself from a compulsive gambler during a divorce is to hire a qualified Pensacola divorce lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns as soon as possible. Our firm is committed to helping clients dissolve their marriages and protect their finances.