Gambling addictions can put a financial and emotional strain on a marriage, much like addictions to alcohol or drugs. This strain may even result in the dissolution of the marriage, as the tendency to lie often shatters trust and causes further dysfunction within a family. If you are the spouse of someone with a gambling addiction, it is critical to be aware of the challenges that may arise during a divorce. If you are married to a compulsive gambler, you may wonder if a gambling addiction can be cited as grounds for divorce. Please continue reading to discover if this is possible and contact an adept Rockland County Divorce & Separation Attorney who can help you prepare for the unique set of challenges you will face when divorcing a gambling addict. 

Is my spouse’s gambling addiction grounds for divorce in New York?

Although your spouse’s gambling addiction may be the reason for the breakdown of your marriage, it is not specifically named as grounds or fault for divorce in New York. That said, you cannot cite your spouse’s gambling addiction as grounds for divorce. However, there are other options available. For instance, you may cite extreme cruelty as your grounds for divorce based on the abuse you have endured due to your spouse’s addiction. Typically, spouses of compulsive gamblers face physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

Am I responsible for paying my spouse’s debts?

During the divorce, you may wonder whether you will be liable for paying your spouse’s gambling debts. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property, assets, and debts accumulated during the marriage are split fairly between a divorcing couple. However, that does not necessarily mean an even 50/50 split. That said, if your spouse amassed significant debt during the marriage due to their addiction, you may be responsible for paying a portion of their gambling debts. Generally, suppose you can prove that your spouse used a substantial amount of your marital assets to fuel their addiction. In that case, the court may deem it reasonable to award you a greater share of your marital property during property distribution.

How can I best prepare to divorce a compulsive gambler?

When divorcing a compulsive gambler, your primary concern should be protecting your finances. Therefore, you should gather your household financial information, such as basic family expenses, bank account statements, credit card statements, mortgage and property deeds, insurance policies, and other pertinent documents. Having these financial documents ready will make it easier to prove to the court that you should not be responsible for paying for your spouse’s gambling debts as you did not consent to them spending your marital assets on fueling their addiction.

If you are married to someone with a severe gambling addiction that has led you to want to end your marriage, contact a determined Rockland County divorce & separation attorney from The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC, to discuss your legal options.