Is Heroin Addiction a Maryland Grounds for Divorce?

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Drug Addiction and its effects on his children should be a lesson for all of us.

As family law attorneys in Maryland, it is distressing for us to see the increase in addiction to heroin and other opiates.   The addiction impacts the entire family, of course, and often leads to divorce.  Believe it or not,  family law attorneys in Annapolis, Maryland have differing opinions about whether heroin and other opiate addiction would fit within the limited definition of grounds for divorce.  It is not settled family law in Maryland.

We continue to be haunted by Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death because we see opiate addictions in people just like us.  These addicts are no longer people we read about or see on television.  Those of us involved in this field have to deal with ordinary people struggling with opiate addictions.  As Annapolis attorneys, we see the effects of drug addiction on children, child custody as well as the effects on the immediate and extended family.  Particularly haunting is that this was never an issue twenty years ago.  It is just in recent times that opiate addictions have become more visible in middle-class families.

As to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Aaron Sorkin said it is better than we can and expresses our thoughts exactly.

We say he died of an overdose of heroin.  (He and other addicts we have met in our practices).

Phillip Seymour Hoffman did not die from an overdose of heroin.  He died from heroin.  We should stop implying that if he had taken the proper amount everything would have been fine.

He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed.  He died because he was an addict on the day of the week with a “Y” in it.