Gambling addiction is a serious psychological problem that can have far-ranging effects on your work, social and family life. Though the habit may start as a bit of recreational fun, it can expand into an all-encompassing obsession that brings a range of problems that often includes legal trouble. Four common legal problems are known to afflict gamblers whose addiction has gone out of control.
The urge to gamble can become such a profound compulsion that the person quickly goes through any discretionary funds and begins to use money that is needed for household bills. The person may then begin to borrow money to pay these regular expenses, which may in turn be again used to fund the gambling habit. This behavior can lead to spiraling indebtedness with bills multiplying at an alarming rate. Cars may be repossessed. The family home may go into foreclosure. Spouse and children can suffer a number of hardships because of the problem. Bankruptcy is sometimes the only way to remove the load of indebtedness and start the family on a new course. Getting legal advice can be critical for navigating this process.
Writing Bad Checks
The psychological compulsion to continue gambling combined with rapidly growing financial pressure can lead to unwise actions to try to keep up with monthly living expenses. The gambler may begin to write checks for regular expenses that he or she knows can’t be covered by funds in the checking account. Retail establishments may file charges against the gambler, leading to a host of embarrassing legal problems. Discussing the matter with an attorney can help to clarify legal options.
The gambler’s finances can become so tangled and hopeless that he or she begins to consider other sources for funds. The desperation can lead to theft of property from family members, neighbors, friends or from their place of employment. When the gambling problem reaches this point, a cascade of legal problems can result. Family members may seek legal recourse against the person. Arrest, conviction and possible imprisonment can lead to loss of job, family stress and increasing despair. A gambler who has resorted to theft to finance the habit needs psychological treatment of the problem as well as experienced counsel to mitigate legal problems.
If the gambling has been going on for a length of time, it may have caused a great deal of tension within the marriage. Lying, hiding of money, stealing of money, increasing debt and employment problems can cause frustration, anger and a lack of trust. The spouse of the gambler may feel trapped in the repeating cycle of repair and crisis. Many spouses of compulsive gamblers seek divorce as a means to save the family from the dysfunctional dynamic and financial stress. Both partners should get legal counsel regarding divorce, division of property and child custody to ensure that all parties are protected from the repercussions of the breakup. Financial matters may particularly problematical with these families and good legal advice can help to minimize detrimental effects.