If you are getting a divorce and sex addiction is the cause, you may wonder how his (or her) addiction will impact your divorce proceedings, and post-divorce life. Read on to learn what to expect when you’re going through divorce from a sex addict.
Sex addiction’s impact on your divorce and child custody settlement. When a spouse has committed adultery, there are typically few to no repercussions on child custody decisions, however much the cheating spouse’s behavior may have wounded you and your kids. When a parent is also a sex addict and has engaged in poor choices such as leaving young children at home alone in order to meet up with a sex partner, or has engaged in inappropriate activity with children present, or has a co-existing addiction issue (i.e. substance abuse), a judge can take this into consideration when determining child custody. Typically a child custody evaluator will be used in these situations to perform a third party investigation, including interviews with the children and each parent (separately) to fully understand the extent of the addiction’s impact on family relationships.
Sex addiction and all that it entails — secret rendezvous, money spent on online dating sites, and even extreme measures such as a separate apartment rental — can be be expensive. If your attorney can show that your spouse used community funds to finance his illicit activities (i.e., using a joint credit or debit card to reserve hotel rooms or pay for dinners out with a paramour), you may be able to be compensated in your financial judgment. Start putting together a financial record of diverted community funds to show to your attorney — and to the judge. is important in work to your advantage, but chronicling a timeline of your spouse’s sexual misadventures to get “justice” is a waste of time, and will make you feel more traumatized. Instead, focus your energy on dissolving your marriage as expediently and sanely as possible.
Seek support. Just because you’re no longer going through couples therapy to deal with your spouse’s sex addiction doesn’t mean youdon’t need support to handle the aftermath of compulsive behavior and betrayal. You may resent having to shell out more money for therapy. You may resent having to go at all; after all, you reason, if he hadn’t cheated, you wouldn’t need to talk to a therapist. Even if this is the case, blaming your ex for your current circumstances won’t take away your pain; it will probably just make it worse. Commit to therapy and/or a 12-step group for partners to give yourself time to heal.
What to say to your kids. Your kids deserve an explanation about why you’re divorcing. Especially if they’ve seen or heard evidence of your spouse’s sex addiction. Denying their reality will just teach them to doubt their intuition and feelings. But that doesn’t mean you should share the gory details. Here are some guidelines for appropriate disclosure:
- Say only what needs to be said, and keep your words suitable for your children’s ages. Something along the lines of: “Our agreement was that we would only be physical with each other. Dad (or Mom) broke that agreement by being physical with other people.”
- Blame the addiction, not the person.
- Acknowledge your ex’s recovery efforts (if he’s in treatment).
The best way to handle divorce from a sex addict is to listen to your attorney, jettison attempts at revenge or the pursuit of “justice,” and focus on healing, both for yourself, and the sake of your children.
We understand that you may have questions about the legal side of sex addiction, infidelity, marriage, and understanding your options should you decide to divorce. Our caring, compassionate family law attorneys are here to provide confidential, nonjudgmental help. Please contact us today to schedule your free confidential consultation.