Divorce is famously difficult for children to cope with, but for children who have autism, the changes that come with divorce can present additional challenges. Parents of children with autism may be reluctant to pursue divorce, even when their marriage is deeply unhappy or feels like it is at a dead end, because of concerns that their child may present significant behavioral challenges that could make the divorce even harder.
Fortunately, research exists on children with autism in divorces and experts have several suggestions that may help these children cope with divorce in a way that benefits the child and makes the parents’ job of caring for the child less difficult. If you live in DuPage County, have an autistic child, and are considering divorce, we hope this article will be helpful and offer the aid of our divorce attorneys for assistance with further questions.
Hire a Child Psychological Expert who Specializes in Autism
Although parents of children with autism are already well-educated and know their children intimately, having a professional who can explain a child’s behavior and make recommendations for behavioral management can be a major lifeline during divorce. Reactions during divorce can be difficult to predict and your child may evince behaviors you have never seen before. Before certain behaviors become unmanageable, approach them proactively with help from a specialist.
Hire a Babysitter and Take a Break
You are going to be stressed during your divorce; you may already be at your limit before your divorce begins. Allow yourself to rest, recharge, and return to parenting after you have had an opportunity to take a break. Even hiring a babysitter or asking a family member to come over long enough to allow you to take a nap can make a world of difference.
Protect Your Child in Your Parenting Plan
Generally speaking, the more detailed parents are in their parenting plan, the less potential for conflict there will be in the future. This is especially true for children with autism, whose care needs are often significantly more strenuous on parents. Even if you are worried that your spouse is not an excellent parent, allowing him or her to care for your children can give you a much-needed break. Include details about who will make decisions regarding your child’s after school activities, medical expenses, and therapy, including which parent will take the child to certain activities.
Help Your Child Anticipate Changes
Even minor changes can be difficult for children with autism. Warning your child far in advance of changes before they happen can help them know what to expect, which in turn may avoid anxiety and negative behaviors. Consider creating a chart with stickers or magnets that allows you to track the days and give plenty of warning for changes in parenting time, living arrangements, or school schedules. If possible, try to make changes slowly and give your child time to adjust to each new change.
Contact a Compassionate Hinsdale, IL Divorce Attorney
The DuPage County divorce attorneys at Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio are committed to doing everything in their power to manage the legal burden of your divorce so you can focus on caring for your family. Depending on your situation and preferences, we can help you pursue an amicable, low-conflict resolution or, if necessary, pursue a more aggressive approach. No matter the strategy, you can trust that your best interests are understood and protected. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free introductory consultation.