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Heavy drinking can be a fast-track to divorce

When a couple typically recites their wedding vows, a promise often made to one another between husband and wife-to be is to remain at each others' side until "death do us part." That promise, however, can become strained to its breaking point by a number of factors that are entirely invisible on one's wedding day.

According to new research published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, marriages in which one or both spouses suffer from a severe drinking problem are fraught with an especially heightened risk of divorce. Alcoholism is a serious health issue that haunts married couples across all of America, Colorado included.

A marriage in which both partners have drinking problems runs a raised risk of divorce, but according to the study, which will be published in May, situations involving one heavy drinker and one relatively sober spouse are at the greatest risk of ending in premature separation.

The study reached these and other conclusions about alcohol's effect on a marriage using data from nearly 20,000 married couples. Surprisingly, the study noted that couples in which the wife suffered from alcoholism were most likely to end up filing for divorce. The correlation may suggest a double standard under which heavy drinking on a man's part is more often tolerated than amongst wives.

Alcoholism is a marriage is linked to spousal abuse and domestic violence, both of which are firm grounds for seeking separation. Additional scientific research has revealed that regular alcohol abuse may make it more difficult for the brain to recover from trauma, only exasperating the conduct and communication problems a couple may be facing.

Although couples should always try to be as cognizant as possible of their partner's drinking habits before tying the knot, sometimes it is impossible to know that a drinking problem will develop, or already exists. If a spouse's alcohol abuse has become pronounced, it may be time to explore the process of a divorce.

Source: Fox News, "Heavy drinking raises risk of divorce," Stephanie Pappas, Feb. 6, 2013

Watching a loved one struggle with alcohol issues can be heartbreaking. It can also be dangerous for the rest of a household. To explore the options available to married couples in need to separation, contact our Boulder family law page.

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