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Divorcing When a Child with Autism Is Involved

Divorce is a situation that is, for many married couples, inevitable. Unfortunately, divorcing spouses who have a child with autism may be doing serious harm to the child that can be hard to understand, predict, and fix. Therefore, they need to do what they can to ensure that the divorce goes as smoothly as possible and that the child is affected as little as necessary by the process.

Boy kneeling on couch next to a heart plushy

How Divorce Negatively Affects All Children

When a child's parents get divorced, there is a strong possibility that the child will suffer from a variety of mental health issues. First of all, many children blame themselves for the divorce, no matter how much the parents try to assure the child that they did nothing wrong. Other children will suffer from separation anxiety when visiting with one parent over the other.

In many cases, these issues can complicate into behavioral problems that cause the child to act out aggressively. Affected children may hurt their siblings in frustration and blame them for the divorce. Other children may lash out at friends on the playground if they are teased for the divorce. These problems do decrease in severity as a child matures and better understands complex issues.

Unfortunately, the complications common with divorce and children are only going to be worse when the child has autism. And the more severe the level of the child's autism, the stronger the child will react to the divorce.

Why Divorces More Heavily Impact Children with Autism

Children who have autism often experience difficulties with verbal and oral communication that can make their upbringing very difficult. For example, a child with a mild case of autism may have erratic or unpredictable speech patterns that make it challenging to understand them. Other children with more severe cases of autism may be unable to speak at all.

However, this lack of communication doesn't mean that the child doesn't understand what is happening around them. In fact, most children with autism are fully aware of their surroundings and can grasp issues such as fighting parents. Unfortunately, a child with autism may be unable to discuss these situations with their parents in a way that helps them recover.

As a result, children with autism often experience extreme problems during the divorce process that can be unpredictable and difficult to manage. These complications can seriously affect the route a divorce case takes and how a judge determines many elements of a divorce case.

What Judges Use to Decide These Custody Cases

As in all divorce cases with children, the judge in charge of the case will rule in a way that benefits the child the most. In a case involving a child with autism, the judge may have to rule in ways that the parents don't want. For example, one parent may want sole custody of the child against the wishes of the other parent. However, the judge may find out that the child does best when exposed to both parents equally.

As a result, the judge may rule that the custody must be split for the sake of the child. This ruling is likely even if the parents have to travel many miles every week or two to meet the order. The judge may also rule that specific care methods for the child must be followed to ensure that the child recovers as much as possible from the divorce.

When Legal Help Is Necessary

The unique complications of a divorce case involving a child with autism require involved and high-quality legal help. So please contact the Law Offices of Thomas Marola to learn more about this issue and to create an effective divorce plan that works for all involved parties.

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