Have you and your spouse decided to get a divorce and have a special needs child? If so, it likely was a harder decision than some couples face. Most of the time when married couples decide to divorce and children are involved, it can create complex circumstances. Divorcing with a special needs child may require additional considerations, and this can make these types of divorces more complex. If you and your spouse can agree on certain terms, the divorce does not have to be complicated and the dissolution can be amicable. The following points represent things to keep in mind that are relevant to your child.
Emotional Impact and Emotional Support
Children may react to divorce with sadness. Depending on your child's special needs classification, they may be able to understand that they will not have both of their parents in the home anymore. Even if there are cognitive challenges, your child may have feelings of missing their other parent and not understanding why they are not around. Children with impaired cognitive function may still exhibit emotions, and this is something that you need to be mindful of. There are options for your family to create a supportive transition. Children have special needs such as ADHD may be able to understand the concept of divorce, but they might respond aggressively. To curb impulsive behavior, your family could consider one-on-one counseling for your child and family counseling for all members. It is important for you and your spouse to remain active and emotionally supportive of your child.
Custody and Visitation
Custody matters are hard for some couples to agree upon. When it comes to a divorce involving special needs children, it is important to consider which parent is best equipped to take care of the child. For example, if one parent has been a stay-at-home parent and primary caretaker, it would be sensible not to interfere with that bond. That parent will likely know more specific things about caring for the child. However, parents agree to have a joint custody agreement even if they know that the child will spend most of their time with one parent. One of the benefits of getting granted sole custody is that the custodial parent can receive child support.
Visitation will need to be addressed. Some couples choose not to have a firm visitation schedule. They opt to have arrangements that allow the non-custodial parent to visit or get the child and take them on an outing or stay over with the child when they request it. If a visitation order is granted by a judge, it must be followed to avoid contempt of court.
You can use a local family law firm as a resource to help you navigate your divorce. They have experience with a variety of complicated divorces and will know how to assist you with proving what is best for your child and explaining your preferences.