When you are a parent, getting a divorce does not only affect you and your spouse, it can also have a dramatic impact on your child. If your child has an intellectual or physical disability, you may wonder how you can minimize your child’s stress during this difficult transition. You may have concerns about the emotional effects the divorce will have on your child as well as the logistical and financial issues you will need to address. Although there is no perfect way to handle divorce as a parent of a child with disabilities, there are several steps you can take that may lessen the strain experienced by the whole family.
Minimize the Contentiousness Between You and Your Spouse
Numerous studies have shown that children are very sensitive to parental tension and hostility. One of the best things you can do for your child is to make your divorce as cooperative and respectful as possible. Many parents find that family law mediation allows them to resolve divorce issues such as property division and parental responsibilities without going through a stressful and contentious court trial. During mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a skilled mediator who helps keep discussions focused on solutions rather than accusations, blame, or irrelevant subjects.
Keep Your Child’s Routines as Normal as Possible
Whether your child has a physical disability or an intellectual disability like autism, one thing you can do to lessen the negative impact of divorce on him or her is to keep established routines and schedules the same. Your child’s life is about to change in countless different ways. One way to give him or her a sense of security is to keep morning routines, bedtime, mealtimes, and household rules as consistent as possible. You may be tempted to relax the rules or spoil your child during this tumultuous period in his or her life, but experts say that doing this may actually worsen your child’s stress.
Plan for Your Child’s Financial Future
Disabled children may need specific medical equipment, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and other specialized medical care. The costs of these special needs can certainly add up and will need to be addressed during your divorce. Typically, the parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support from the noncustodial parent until the child reaches adulthood. Fortunately, Illinois allows children with disabilities to continue receiving child support even after they have turned 18 and/or graduated high school. This financial support may go to the child, the parent with whom the child lives, the facility in which the child lives, or into a special needs trust.
Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
Having a child with special needs can complicate the already complex process of ending a marriage. For help with questions or concerns related to child custody, child support, property division, and much more, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled St. Charles divorce attorneys to discuss your needs....