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The impact alcoholism can have on a marriage

On Behalf of | May 4, 2022 | Family Law

There are many reasons marriages end. One fairly common reason is alcoholism.

In a 2013 study by the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, researchers followed 634 newly-married couples for nine years and surveyed them on their drinking habits. Researchers found that, of the marriages in their study in which one partner reported being a heavy drinker, 50% had ended in divorce before the study was over. The researchers defined heavy drinking as six or more drinks at one time, or simply drinking to the point of intoxication.

For couples where heavy drinking was not an issue, the divorce rate dropped from 50% to 30%. The divorce rate was not as high for married couples who are both heavy drinkers. Some researchers theorized that heavy drinkers may be more forgiving of the behavior of a heavy-drinking spouse. However, two heavy-drinking parents can create a particularly difficult home life for their children.

Other studies have broken down the effects of alcoholism on marriage in other ways. For instance, a 2013 study in Norway found that marriages were more likely to end in divorce if a woman was the heavy drinker in a marriage.

Practical concerns

Whatever the reason that leads a couple to make the difficult decision to divorce, there are many practical issues to resolve with emotional implications. They will need to sort through division of their property. If the couple has children, they will need to resolve child support and child custody concerns. If one spouse makes a request for it, they will need to resolve spousal support. Each of these divorce-related concerns can be complex to navigate. It’s important for people going through divorce to seek out help. An experienced Maryland family law attorney can help them understand their options and guide them through the process.