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Getting Divorced When Your Child Has Autism: Advice for Illinois Parents

Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1482891575-min.jpgAny parent getting divorced worries about how the divorce will affect their children. Although divorce is common in our modern age, it still has massive repercussions for everyone in the family.  A parent may be especially concerned about how divorce will affect their child if the child has autism.

Children on the autism spectrum see the world through a different lens than those without the disorder. They are often highly sensitive and struggle to adapt to change. Some suffer from developmental delays, anxiety, or unpredictable mood swings. Others struggle to show emotion at all and appear completely disengaged from other people.

If your child has autism spectrum disorder (AUS) and you plan to end your marriage, it is important to plan the divorce with your child’s unique needs in mind.

Telling Your Child About The Divorce

One of the best things you can do to protect your child from avoidable pain during your divorce is to carefully plan when and how you tell him or her about the divorce. Experts agree that it is best for both parents to sit down and have the “divorce talk” with the child together. However, this is not always possible. Ideally, you will plan what you are going to say to your child in advance and think about the questions he or she may ask. Clear your schedule so you have at least a few hours with your child to let him or her process the news and come to terms with it. Make sure your child knows that he or she is not to blame for the end of your marriage.

Gathering Support for You and Your Child

As you proceed with the divorce process, make sure you do not try to do everything by yourself. Work with a skilled divorce lawyer experienced in divorce involving children. Let your child’s teachers, therapists, and other important adults in their life know about the divorce. Your child may act out in school or need some extra support during this time. Make sure you get support for yourself too. Many people work with divorce coaches or mental health counselors during their divorce.

Building Your Parenting Plan

A strong parenting plan is a great way to promote consistency in a child’s life. Comprehensive plans describing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are even more important when a child has special needs. The more detailed your plan, the better. Make sure to include provisions addressing the parenting time schedule for school days and school vacations, special occasions, and holidays. Explain each parent’s right of first refusal and how any parental relocations will be managed. Include directions for how you and the other parent will resolve co-parenting disagreements or handle any proposed modifications to the parenting plan.

Contact our Arlington Heights Divorce Lawyer

Palatine divorce attorney Nicholas Richardson has over 15 years of legal experience in divorce and family law matters. He can help you address property division, child custody, parenting plans, and more. Call 847.873.6741 today and set up a free consultation at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C.




Introducing The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson

Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced divorce lawyer and mediator whose comprehensive legal knowledge, commitment to clients and reputation for results bring lasting solutions to your problems.

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