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Divorcing when You Have a Child with Special Needs

While divorcing in Pittsburgh is difficult no matter if children are involved or not, parents of special-needs children face a stringent set of challenges. According to the Interactive Autism Network, many parents report that having an autistic child causes a high amount of stress in a marriage.

While this does not necessarily lead to divorce, it can. If it does, The Autism Community in Action recommends taking these core issues into consideration:

Safety and security

Parents should seek a reciprocal agreement where both agree not to consume intoxicating substances around the child. They may wish to invoke similar arrangements where overnight guests are concerned or stipulate that the child is not to be left in the care of anybody other than the custodial parent.

Medical decisions

This is an area that can be difficult with a special-needs child. If one parent will be the primary custodian of the child, it is important to include a clause where the other agrees to comply with any treatment the child is undergoing while the child is residing with him or her. It is also important to have a clause stipulating that the ex-spouse will not hospitalize the child or take the child to a different doctor without the custodial parent’s knowledge and approval. Some noncustodial parents will do this in order to get a less severe diagnosis from a different doctor and thus pay less in child support.

Divorcing is difficult, but divorcing with the health and well-being of a special-needs child at stake is harder. Ensuring compliance from both custodial parties regarding the safety and health of the child is absolutely paramount in divorce settlements.