Navigating Divorce In Families With Special Needs

gloomy young family with a sad little boy hugging a teddy bear, and his parents with depressed looks

Ask a divorce lawyer, in Riverside, Corona, or anywhere else for that matter, and they’ll be able to tell you that dissolving a marriage is a tough situation. That situation becomes even more difficult in families that have special needs children. In these situations, stress can be even more intense because of the unique burden the family faces. It’s important, for the sake of the family, to tread carefully through a divorce when a special needs child is involved. Here’s what you should know.

The Reality Of Special Needs And Divorce

Most often, the presence of special needs is there from the outset of starting a family, according to San Diego birth injury attorney Ken Sigelman. From birth, the presence of conditions like learning disabilities, ADD, and the like can put not only a financial burden on a family but also an emotional one. Though it might not be true that all marriages that eventually involve special needs children end with dissolution, the presence of a special needs child does increase the odds.

This isn’t to say that the divorce is the fault of the child (which it isn’t), but the difficulty of raising a child with special needs is not something every parent is well-suited for. Consequently, they may adopt behaviors that exacerbate cracks in the relationship. For example, becoming withdrawn or getting obsessed with work in an attempt to ignore reality.

Regardless, though, divorce in these situations needs to prioritize the well-being of the child. This means that first, parents need to get on the same page about the long-term needs of their child. In many cases, parents in this situation will allow the child’s condition to create a conflict they are unwilling to resolve. Instead, they should first come to terms with the sort of care their child will need going into the future, as well as how they will pay for that care and balance parenting responsibilities as a team. This will make the divorce process easier going forward.

You will also aid the goal of reaching some semblance of stability in divorce with a special needs child by learning to set aside some differences. Sometimes, the presence of a special needs child creates an unequal dynamic in child-rearing responsibilities pre-divorce. This could bubble over into the divorce and make for contention, but again, for the sake of the child, it might be better to set aside arguments like this for the child’s best interests.

Again, while the presence of a special needs child can gravely impact a family and a divorce, communication and a focus on the shared goal of providing the best environment for the child can aid how you navigate these troubled waters.