Divorce and Special Needs Children

Being a parent of a child with special needs is incredibly stressful. It isn’t surprising that the divorce rate amongst special needs parents is much higher than the general population. The added financial burden and the emotional toll of dealing with the difficulties of a child with special needs is hard for any marriage to endure. There are special considerations and complexities in a divorce when faced with these unique challenges.

Different Schedules

Children who have unique needs often have a much busier schedule than the average kid. They may have physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, gross motor therapy, all on top of multiple doctor appointments, and typical school events. This is a lot for any parent to juggle, especially when trying to figure out a new parenting plan during a divorce.

Treatment  & Therapy Concerns

When you have a medically complex child, there may be several treatment options. It isn’t uncommon for parents to disagree on the best course of action. This can be complicated when the child is going back and forth between two homes. For example, one parent believes their child needs to take medication for a behavioral issue, but the other parent thinks their child is fine without it. This can be immensely detrimental, and possibly dangerous if the child is only medicated half of the time. When it comes to medical care, consistency is vital. Both parents must be on the same page to ensure that the needs of their children are being addressed.

Medicines & Medical Equipment

For children that require daily medication and/or medical equipment, going back and forth between homes can be a whole ordeal in itself. Parents need to work out a parenting plan schedule that makes sense with the child’s medical needs. Their health and wellness come first. Whether that be the parents scheduling larger chunks of time with the child to prevent having to move equipment as often, or possibly purchasing medical equipment out of pocket so that there is an additional set at the other parent’s house.

If you are the parent of a special needs child and you are contemplating divorce, contact West Coast Family Mediation today.

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