At the heart of many divorces are financial issues. However, high-net-worth couples grow apart over other issues. One such issue that is often hidden from the public eye is substance abuse problems.
Functional alcoholics and drug addicts may seem healthy to other people during the day, their spouses must deal with the ugly side of addition.
If this describes your situation, you should know that Florida has a way to help your addicted spouse.
The Marchman Act, generally
The Marchman act was passed in 1993. The law treats addiction as a disease, and it allows for the involuntary commitment of addicts. This commitment can provide an alternative to jail, if the addict is arrested.
To become eligible for involuntary commitment, the addict must meet three criteria. First, the addict must have no control over their substance abuse. Second, they do not understand they need help or cannot make rational decisions about their healthcare. And, finally, they must be a danger to themselves or others.
If an addict meets these three criteria, they can be forced into treatment. Of course, the addict can choose treatment, but those who do not can be committed without their consent. This is done through a civil court order, in which the addict is ordered to be assessed and then treated for their addiction.
The legal process
The spouse, a blood relative or three concerned people can petition the county clerk where the addict lives. The court will then do an assessment or order an assessment to determine whether the addict needs help.
Depending on the severity of the addiction and the danger to the addict and the public, either a summons will be given to the addict or, in severe cases, an Ex Parte Order granted. The Ex Parte Order is issued without the addict’s presence in court, and it allows the police to force the addict into a facility for evaluation, stabilization and detoxification.
For Coral Springs, Florida, spouses dealing with an addict spouse, the Marchman Act can give you the option to force your spouse into treatment. Though, if it does not work, you may need to contact an attorney for a high-asset divorce.