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Divorce when You have Children with Special Needs

There is no doubt that divorce is one of the tough choices an individual makes. However, with children involved, it often gets ugly. When children see their parents fighting, it can affect their mental well-being. Children with special needs may find it even more challenging to accept the news and understand its implications. A divorce completely changes a child’s life; it can make them feel isolated and confused.

Figuring out Divorce when You have Children with Special Needs

Dealing with divorce can be a challenging experience for you and your spouse, especially if you have children with special needs. The separation among the people involved will affect your children the most. The transition might even get more difficult for them if your marriage ends on harmful and disrespectful terms. 

Because of this, it can be best to undergo a divorce mediation to help you and your spouse settle family issues and reach an agreement. Under this procedure, an independent and unbiased mediator will serve both parties, encourage them to communicate, and help them work out the divorce details to be embodied in an agreement. 

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Generally, divorce mediation will involve discussions around the property, assets, child custody, child support, etc. One of your primary concerns is to ensure the well-being of your children. The mediator will help you work together to resolve parenting issues and other matters that affect your children’s welfare. 

Moreover, figuring out divorce through mediation when you have children with special needs can be beneficial in the following ways: 

  • You can save some money with mediation since hiring attorneys is unnecessary. 
  • You can also use a faster process, as the resolution will only take a few months. 
  • You and your spouse can have complete control over the decision for your children by coming to an agreement. 

So, if you want to make the transition less stressful and confusing for your children with special needs, going through the process of divorce mediation can be an excellent decision. Thankfully, there are many organizations out there that offer reliable divorce mediation services.

What should you consider when figuring out child custody?

There are several questions that both parents need to consider while considering child custody. Here are a few things to consider during divorce mediation.

Who will get custody of the child?

Special needs children require more care and attention. To maintain a semblance of normalcy, your child should live with one parent who will also be the primary care provider. One of the parents will also have custodianship or guardianship of the child.

Various factors are considered when determining which parent receives custody. The child’s unique case will dictate the terms. The location of the new home and access to medical care are factors that you need to consider.

How often will the child meet the other parent?

Since the child will be living with one parent, the other will have to meet the child during visitations (if they choose to do so). Scheduling the visitations, as well as their duration, is something that should be discussed beforehand.

Who will pay for child support, and what amount will it be?

To support your child financially, one or both parents must determine who will pay for child support. For a child with special needs, one parent may have to provide care 24/7, while the other parent may need to bear the entire child’s financial support. Whatever the case, both parents need to figure this out.

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In addition to paying for child support, one parent may also have to pay alimony or spousal maintenance. In this case, one parent cares for the child and may not provide for their own needs. In addition to this, parents may require financial assistance from the government.

Who will be responsible for decision-making in the child’s life?

A parent is responsible for making decisions in a child’s life. During divorce mediation, parents need to decide if one of them or both wants to be part of the decision-making process. Decisions about education, medical care, therapies, and others arise daily. Hence, for the child’s best interest, parents need to be clear regarding this. Making the right decision should be the priority of both parents.

How will the parents continue support as the child transitions into adulthood?

For children with special needs, they may require support as they transition into adulthood. Or they may not. It depends on each case. Hence, parents should consider this and make long-term care for their children a part of the divorce agreement. Although things may not be apparent, parents must try to consider all aspects of their child’s well-being.

Divorce when You have Children with Special Needs

For special needs children, divorce can be a tough time. However, it can go a long way if parents are willing to invest with the proper insight. Hence, if you’re in the middle of a divorce, keep the information mentioned above in mind to know what to expect when dealing with the said legal process while keeping the best interests of your children at heart.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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