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Substance abuse is unfortunately prevalent in Minnesota, where it plays a key role in the break up of many marriages. Data collected by the Minnesota Survey of Adult Substance Use in 2014 and 2015 reveals that five percent of adult residents suffer alcohol abuse, while two percent meet established criteria defining drug use disorders. If you believe that your spouse meets these criteria — and that divorce is your best option — you’ll want to proceed carefully to ensure the best outcome for you and your children.

Can Substance Abuse Be Used As Grounds For Divorce?

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. There is no need to prove that your spouse is to blame for your marriage’s demise. While some states include persistent drug abuse as grounds for divorce, Minnesota couples typically cite irreconcilable differences. The upside? You will likely be granted a divorce, even if your spouse opposes it.

What About Custody and Parenting Time?

While drug abuse holds little sway over your ability to obtain a divorce, it could play a role in any decisions related to childcare. In Minnesota, child custody is awarded primarily based on the best interests of the child. It may not be in your child’s best interests to reside with a parent currently dependent on illicit substances, particularly if those substances spark neglect or aggressive behavior.

In determining custody, the Minnesota Statutes specifically reference “any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs.” Other factors can come into play, however, so it behooves you to work with an aggressive family lawyer who can effectively advocate for your child’s best interests.

If substance abuse has played a role in your marriage or divorce, look to the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for support. We can help you secure the best possible outcome for custody, parenting time, and other essential matters.