Addiction Related Issues in Divorce: Causation, Alimony, Property Division, Custody Issues

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, November 13, 2020

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will equip family law attorneys to address unfamiliar and complex addiction related issues that are arising more and more frequently in divorce cases. The program will focus on how active addiction alters each stage of the process and how counsel must adjust their analysis and recommendations accordingly. The webinar will view these issues primarily from the perspective of the spouse divorcing the active addict but will include some material related to representing the addicted spouse.


Addiction related issues in a divorce are increasing at an alarming rate. The addiction may be to substances, such as alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed pharmaceuticals (opioids), or to conduct, such as gambling, video games, or sex. The defendant may be a high functioning professional who shows no outward signs of addiction or someone unable to maintain employment. The addicted spouse may categorically deny any problem or claim his or her conduct is under control. The degree and severity of addiction vary widely from case to case, but the adverse effects of the addiction only increase over time.

Addicts are often unpredictable, unstable, and even dangerous. Practitioners must educate themselves about addiction, how it affects the addict's behavior and reasoning, the effects on each family member, and the impact on the divorce case. Counsel must understand how the petitioning spouse coped with or enabled the problem.

Substance abuse and addiction will influence alimony, division of property, and custody issues. When the addict is the primary financial support for the family, the filing spouse faces more significant challenges. The addicted spouse may not be entitled to alimony or an equitable division of property if that spouse has improperly wasted assets supporting the addiction. If addiction is grounds for divorce, independent evidence may be required, but difficult to obtain. Experts or private investigators may be required. In some states, drug evaluations are necessary, and special care must be observed to maintain admissibility.

Listen as this experienced panel of family lawyers discusses particularly challenging issues, additional difficulties, and more complex legal issues involved in divorcing a spouse with struggling with addiction.



  1. Overview of substance abuse and addiction
    1. Definitions
    2. Co-occurring disorders
  2. Identifying the addiction related issues
  3. Anticipating the addict's unpredictability
  4. Pleading and proving addiction
  5. Alimony and support issues
  6. Property division
  7. Augmenting ordinary temporary orders to cover addictive behaviors


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is addiction?
  • How to identify addiction
  • How, when, and how often to test for addiction
  • What kind of tests are out there and what do they tell you?
  • What kind of treatment options exist?
  • What relief should attorneys seek?
  • When should one divorce the addicted spouse?


Ciancio, Cynthia
Cynthia L. Ciancio

Ciancio Ciancio Brown

Ms. Ciancio’s practice specializes in high asset divorces and complex child custody disputes. She has over 14...  |  Read More

Farzad, B. Robert
B. Robert Farzad

Managing Partner
Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys

Mr. Farzad is actively involved in the firm's divorce and parentage cases, with a focus on the complex divorce...  |  Read More

Live Webinar

Buy Live Webinar
Early Discount (through 11/13/20)

Live Webinar


Buy Live Webinar & Recording
Includes special savings of $170 (through 11/13/20)

Live Webinar & Download


Live Webinar & DVD

$224 + $24.45 S&H

Other Formats
— Anytime, Anywhere

Early Discount (through 11/13/20)

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include program handouts. To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video

48 hours after event



48 hours after event



10 business days after event

$147 + $24.45 S&H