Far too late, you may realize that the person you married is not who you thought they were. And if you conclude that your spouse is a gambling addict, you may want to sadly part ways with them. With this, you may be unsure as to whether these are valid grounds to cite. What’s more, you may worry about how your spouse’s gambling debt is going to be divided. Read on to discover more about how a competent Bergen County equitable distribution attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can protect you.
What should I know about the grounds for divorcing a gambling addict?
Compulsive gambling is not specifically cited as a grounds for divorce in the state of New Jersey. Though, if you still wish to pursue a fault divorce, you may cite that your spouse has had an addiction for an extensive period. This is because compulsive gambling may have the same effects as a drug or alcohol addiction, or the like. Meaning, it may place unnecessary stressors on your emotional intimacy, your finances, and your overall marriage.
With that being said, you may back this up by providing the New Jersey family court with proof that your spouse exhibits signs of an addiction. Examples are as follows:
- You may prove that your spouse has consistently tried and failed to stop gambling.
- You may prove that your spouse has consistently lied to you about the extent of their losses.
- You may prove that your spouse has stolen or lied to get money for gambling.
- You may prove that your spouse has put their relationships and/or their career in jeopardy for gambling.
How does equitable distribution work with gambling debt?
The state of New Jersey follows equitable distribution law. This means that the family court may split up your marital assets in a way that is fair and just. So with your spouse gambling throughout your marriage, you may be worried that their gambling debt will be considered your marital debt.
Though, it cannot be stressed enough that “fair and just” does not translate into “equal.” In other words, you may not be held responsible for 50 percent of your spouse’s gambling debt. This even applies if your spouse used your joint credit card for their gambling activities.
For this, you must make an argument to the family court that you did not consent to this debt and therefore you should not be responsible for paying off this debt. Then, the family court may either make your spouse fully liable for this debt or award you a greater share of marital assets to make up for this debt.
At the end of the day, if you are filing for a divorce from a gambling addict, then you need a competent Bergen County family law attorney to stand by your side. Contact McNerney & McAuliffe to retain our services today.