Divorce and Autistic Children
When it comes to children with special needs, courts take extra time to deal with the lifestyle, medical, and other resources that they will need in the future. One disorder that has come a long way in terms of how doctors diagnose and treat it is autism. Now that society understands the needs of an autistic child far more than we did in the past, how is this affecting how we approach an all too common occurrence amongst families, namely that of divorce? A divorce is a complicated and emotional process that disrupts what an autistic child needs most: routine, consistency, and a calm environment. So how can parents with an autistic child approach a divorce in a way that deals with that child’s needs best? Below, we discuss divorce and special needs children.
Autism: An Evolving Understanding
According to the advocacy group Autism Speaks, autism (also referred to as autism spectrum disorder) refers to a broad range of symptoms characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. An autistic child has trouble relating to and communicating with the world around them, which can lead them to lash out in various ways. Autism is often diagnosed on a spectrum, with some high-functioning children able to lead relatively normal lives, while those with a more severe form may need special care 24 hours a day. Research has shown that these children need an environment with structure, rigid routine, and specialized education or caregivers to help deal with their special needs.
Structuring A Divorce Settlement With The Child In Mind
Divorces mean change, and this can be upsetting for children without any special needs. But for an autistic child, this can be excruciatingly traumatizing. So if you are a couple looking towards a divorce, extensive planning is necessary to make sure the child’s needs are taken care of. During the process, each parent and their attorneys should negotiate a very specific and structured custody schedule to ensure that the child’s needs in terms of routine and education remain consistent. Any changes should be introduced slowly, with the help of special education experts. In addition, any child support decisions need to consider the child’s needs, both current and future, for medical, educational, and therapeutic treatments.
Where to Start
If you and your spouse are looking to file a divorce, you may want to discuss the issue with a special education or autism expert. They can advise you on how to keep trauma to the child at a minimum during the process while the details are being worked out, as well as what language to consider in the decree once you make the divorce final. When looking for divorce attorneys, search for someone that may have a background in special needs custody and support issues, as they can help make a very tough experience just a little bit easier for both you and your child. All divorces are emotional events, but the best interest of your child is key.
Contact a Family Law Attorney About Your Divorce Today!
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Cordry Hartman, LLC represent clients throughout the state, including Burlington county, Camden county, and across the state. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 856-452-4474 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 505 S Lenola Rd Ste 224 Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.