According to a CDC study, around 1 in 110 children is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, while 1 in 10 is diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder/hyperactive disorder (ADD/ADHD). Unfortunately, these numbers mean that thousands of children with special needs go through a divorce every year. How does divorce affect these children? Is there a way to manage it? How should you approach it?
Caring for a child with special needs places a severe strain on any relationship. In fact, some studies show that parents with special needs children divorce 50 percent of the time.
The typical approach to custody arrangements many not necessarily work for a child with special needs. For example, it is typical for the court to award overnight stays with the non-custodial parent, which is not a problem because the child understands that she will see her other parent again. However, a child with special needs may have difficulty transitioning and adapting to new environments.
Furthermore, consider child support. The court should take into account the additional therapy, schooling, and medical assistance a child with special needs will require.
Additionally, raising a child with special needs requires greater coordination and collaboration between the parents. Parents must agree on schools, camps, doctors, and divide up time to care for their child. Placing a child with special needs between two competing parents is a recipe for harming the child.
If you are engaged in a child custody dispute, then you should seek out the advice of a family law attorney. Trying to manage a divorce while you care for a child with special needs, is an extraordinary undertaking. As you can see, children with special needs require an even more nuanced and sensitive approach. Unfortunately, there is no way you can totally eliminate the emotional and mental effects of a divorce on a child with special needs, the best you can hope for is to minimize and manage it. A lawyer can support you by taking over the divorce issues to allow you to focus on your children. Don’t let divorce consume your life.