Divorcing a Gambling Addict in North Carolina

Gambling is a severe problem in North Carolina, and in some cases, it can destroy families. There are many reasons why you might want to divorce someone, but a gambling addiction is probably one of the most understandable. When spouses seem intent on gambling away the family fortune in an irresponsible manner, there are not many options left. You may have decided to get out of this marriage before things become dangerous, economically ruinous, or psychologically damaging. In addition, you may be concerned about the well-being of your children. 

What kind of unique considerations are associated with divorcing a gambling addict in North Carolina? How can you walk away from your marriage feeling financially secure when your spouse has already squandered away the entire family fortune? How can you be sure that your spouse will support you and your children when they seem incapable of holding onto money before gambling it away? 

These are all questions best left answered by a qualified, experienced family law attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals can be an excellent source of support and guidance as you approach this difficult situation. After you consult with our divorce attorneys, you may feel like your situation is not quite as bad as you previously thought. We can then guide you forward, represent you in court, and make sure that you are pursuing the best possible legal outcome as you end your marriage. 

Legally Separate as Soon as Possible

If you are serious about divorcing, it is crucial to separate legally as soon as possible. Legal separation means living under different roofs and ceasing all marital relations. The sooner you do this, the sooner your divorce will be finalized. In North Carolina, spouses must legally separate for 12 months before the divorce can move on to the next phase. 

In addition, your separation date marks the beginning of the separation of finances. From the moment you stop living with your spouse, any assets you accumulate will be considered separate property. This means that your former spouse will not have access to these assets. For example, you may receive a bonus or severance pay from work after your separation date. Your spouse will not have access to this money, so they will not be able to gamble it away. 

Dissipated Assets

North Carolina has its own laws that apply to spouses who “waste” marital property. These laws can certainly apply to a gambling addict who squanders away the family fortune before their spouse can gain access to it. If you can prove that your spouse wasted these marital assets, the court may award you compensation to help you pay for your damages. This is especially true if you can prove that your spouse intentionally wasted these assets to prevent you from accessing them. 

Why the Court Will Take Your Side

The court will likely “take your side” if you are divorcing an apparent gambling addict. First of all, your spouse might be concealing assets or other financial information. This can result in legal penalties for them. Secondly, a judge will likely come to the conclusion that you should have primary custody of the children since it is not in their best interests to live with a parent with a gambling addiction. The court may also decide that your former spouse cannot be trusted to make child support payments independently. This can lead to the garnishment of their wages, ensuring that you get your fair share before your spouse has a chance to gamble it away. 

New Sports Gambling Bill Raises Concerns in North Carolina

In August of 2021, it was reported that the North Carolina Senate was considering a new bill that would legalize sports gambling in the state. Proponents of the bill stressed that this could bring in tens of millions of dollars to the state in economic benefits. However, several critics have pointed out that this bill can potentially negatively impact families. 

North Carolina Family Policy Council President John Rustin stated that “[...] just like with many other addictive behaviors, there are very high correlations between gambling addiction and increases in theft, embezzlement, job loss, personal bankruptcy, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce and yes, even suicide.” 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous spouses in North Carolina with complex, contentious divorces, and we know how to approach complex issues like gambling addictions. Rest assured that courts in the Tar Heel State understand these unique issues, and they try to act in the best interests of you and your children. Reach out and book your consultation today to learn more.