The Truth About Drinking and Divorce


If you are seeking divorce advice in Pasadena because you are leaving a spouse who has a drug or alcohol problem, you are not alone. A new study from Indiana University says alcoholism is a major factor in divorce and separation. Yet hard-earned experience tells us alcohol and drugs have been destroying relationships for years.

Mary Waldron, lead author of the study from the Indiana University School of Education, was prompted to conduct a new study since prior works didn't chronicle older participants.

"Previous research documented associations between adolescent substance use and early marriage or cohabitation, but much of this work did not follow participants past their 20s," says Waldron.

In the early 1980s, Waldron and her colleagues enlisted more than 5,000 Australian couples. The physical, psychological and physical manifestations of alcohol use were evaluated, as were the lengths of time the couples stayed together. Couples from the ages of 29 to 91 were used in the study. The study found that if drinking is a problem, it undoubtedly causes problems in relationships. Delayed marriage and early separation were linked to relationships where one or more of the partners suffered from alcohol dependence.

Waldron's study is just one of many that links addiction to divorce. But real-life couples who have battled these problems know the toll that drugs and alcohol take on families. Many attorneys estimate that approximately 30 percent of divorce cases are either directly or indirectly related to a spouse's problems with drugs or alcohol. Famous couples like Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Sean Penn and Madonna and Courtney Cox and David Arquette all split up partially because of problems with addiction.

Dr. Willard F. Harley, a relationship counselor and founder of, says people married to alcoholics are in danger of destroying their own lives.

"Besides being physically and emotionally harmful to alcoholics themselves, addiction is also harmful to those whose lives touch them," Harley says. "Addiction makes people insensitive to the feelings of those who care most for them, and they will stop at nothing to feed their addiction. I am witness to many people whose lives have been ruined because they married alcoholics."

Studies and expert advice aside, alcoholism and drug addiction are issues that affect the entire family. If you or someone you know is dealing with an addicted spouse, call one of our lawyers today for help.