While divorce is hard for the couple, it is often more difficult on the children. This is especially true if you have a special needs child that relies on a strong foundation. For example, a divorce can have very negative effects on a child with autism who requires a fairly standard daily routine to limit meltdowns.
The strain of raising a child with special needs may be part of the reason the relationship with your spouse collapsed. Even with counseling and a support systems, many couples with special needs children divorce. Part of limiting the disruption to your child’s life is putting an effective parenting plan in place long before you finalize your divorce.
If you are considering divorce and have a special needs child, it is important to take steps to protect your rights as a parent while doing what is best for your child’s well-being. An experienced family law attorney in Sugar Land can help you with all aspects of your divorce. Read further to find out more about co-parenting with a special needs child.
When a court makes a custody decision, it usually bases its decision on what is determined to be in the best interests of the child. When formulating a parenting plan, the court will examine your child’s developmental stage, his or her disposition and the type of care required.
The parenting plan
It is important that you tailor your parenting plan to suit your child’s specific needs. For example, changing your child’s environment may be too disruptive for him or her to handle. The level of autism may interfere with your child’s ability to understand the reason for the transition from your ex-wife’s home to your new apartment. Furthermore, your son or daughter may not be able to process that the change is temporary. Be prepared to take very small steps introducing your child into the new routine and do not become discouraged if he or she seems resistant to overnight stays in the beginning.
Communication is key
Communication and collaboration are mandatory in order to have a successful parenting plan. This means that you and your future ex-wife must put aside your differences and your anger at each other in order to minimize the damage your divorce might cause to your child. You will have to coordinate around doctor appointments and therapy visits.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on an effective parenting plan, the court may order that you both meet with a co-parenting counselor. The counselor will help the two of you build a relationship that works in your child’s favor. If the two of you are unable to forge an acceptable level of communication, there are additional tools to help you coordinate schedules around your child’s needs.
If you are considering divorce and you have a special needs child, it is important to protect your rights and make decisions that are in your son’s or daughter’s best interests.