Gambling Addiction, Family Court and Child Custody


Facing family court can be frightening and stressful, especially with a betting or gaming obsession is hanging over your head. What you can do to lessen the stress is to prepare for everything that you are about to experience in these court cases.

What is the impact of gambling to your family?


Once the gambling addiction issue is discussed in the court, it can only mean one thing – one party has already made an allegation. The family court judge will then have to decide how the addiction issue influences the marital relationship and the family unit as a whole.

“Families suffer terribly from gambling. They lose homes, the kids become depressed. This is not the worst case by any means.” –Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones

The effects of marital waste

Marital waste is the indulgence and spending of money and assets for personal use which offer any benefit to the marriage. It may or may not cause economic consequences in the end. Substantial debts are usually the cause of this waste, incurred through the following:

  • ATM drawings
  • Credit card use
  • Loans on salary
  • Retirement fund cashed out prematurely

Child custody cases involving a compulsive gambler parent

Child custody cases can be messy, but it is necessary to keep in mind and heart the future of the child or children involved. There are cases when a gambling addict parent leaves the children and forget about them while they gamble. It is highly likely that the non-gambling parent will be blaming the gambling one for not having enough time with their children since he or she is always out to feed the addiction.

“The effects of problem gambling on family members are immense. Spouses and families are innocent victims immersed in the emotional turmoil that problem gambling presents.” –Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC

Parents who gamble excessively need to be assessed

Courts prefer to have the parents and their spouses undergo gambling assessment and tests in order to evaluate the extent of the problem. The reason for this is very simple – the addiction must be addressed immediately. Assessments are conducted by licensed problem gambling therapists and the results are sent to the judge in charge of the child custody case. It can be any of the following:

  • No problem with gambling addiction was observed
  • There are signs of gambling issues, but not that grave
  • Gambling problem is found to be severe and treatment is required

Assessment resulting in “not severe” gambling problem can lead to the judge ordering attendance to classes featuring effects of gambling problems on family and marriage.

Settling asset distribution


Regarding asset distribution, the court judge will decide based on how the assessment on gambling will come out. Lawyers will always argue and try to prove that the gambling spouse intentionally and deliberately wasted their common funds. In this way, he or she will be liable for all the losses incurred.

As for the gambler, his or her lawyer will claim that the addiction is a mental health disorder which impaired the person and that he or she didn’t act in a normal state. The lawyer will then plead that the person needs all the help he or she can get and that means treatment and therapy.

The judge will base his or her decision after hearing the arguments and will settle asset distribution.


(Speaking about therapy, one of the ways to combat gambling addiction is through an online therapy provider. They have thousands of licensed counselors to assist those with gambling addiction issues. How much does therapy cost? This online counseling site charges minimally and is very discreet.)

Are the children in danger or not with the gambling addict parent?

It is also important to consider the possibility that the gambling parent will pose a risk to the children or even to himself or herself. The judge will then have to ascertain if it is safe to leave the kids with the addicted parent and his or her time with them may be monitored.

“Gambling addiction therapy is highly effective. However, for gambling therapy to be successful, a person needs to acknowledge their compulsive gambling as a problem.” –Cami Renzoni, a certified mental health aid provider.

Court judges have to understand the situation at hand

Judges play important roles, especially in understanding and recognizing the gambling addiction problem. More knowledge will be beneficial for issuing appropriate court orders since children are the concern here.

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