We all know someone who has suffered from an addiction. It is not easy to be in any relationship where one person is out of control.

It is even more difficult when one person’s addiction affects the marriage and the family. This is true with drugs, alcohol, shopping, and gambling.

Suzie and Thomas* lived a middle-class lifestyle. Each worked. Thomas was a factory supervisor and Suzie was a teacher. Even though Thomas put in 40-hour work and overtime they were still having trouble paying the bills.

The couple rarely went on any trips or vacations and drove older cars. Until one day Thomas came home with a brand new truck. He said he bought it with a bonus from work.

Suzie sensed that something wasn’t right. That night she went to Thomas’s work. He wasn’t there. After a bit of detective work, she found out that Thomas had been going to the casino. He’d been missing work and had not been working overtime as he said. The truck was bought with a lucky gambling win.

Gambling and divorce in Texas

While there is no legal separation in Texas, Texas law does allow for both fault and no-fault divorce. Texas is also a community property state. This means if the non-gambling spouse has control of the money he or she can continue to have control and cut off the gambler from extra funds. The only thing the non-gambler is responsible for is necessities.

If both parties want to work it out then Gamblers Anonymous or other addiction support groups can be of help. Know that gambling can take on many forms including risky investing, online gambling, or trips to casinos. Of course, if nothing changes divorce may be the best option. Depending on your unique situation a restraining order and temporary orders may also be in your best interest.  An attorney can advise you on whether or not the gambling spouses’ portion of the community estate can be reduced because of the monies wasted by the gambler.


*Names and identifying attributes have been changed.