Special Needs Children and Child Custody

Utah residents are most likely aware that a divorce can be difficult for anyone to handle. Most people seem to forget that children are also affected in a big way. However, what about the children who require special needs? Children with major health issues, such as autism for example, may be affected more than the average child when it comes to dealing with the emotional turmoil of divorce, let alone child custody.

Children look toward parents for more than the fundamentals of early life — things like food, shelter, love and guidance. Children with autism need more hands-on care for almost every aspect of daily life. From basic needs like getting dressed to eating, they require plenty of patience and love.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders conducted studies to dispel the statistic that states that married couples with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are reported to have as high as an 80 percent divorce rate after their child is diagnosed with ASD. Thankfully, the actual numbers are far from being that high. However, the numbers could still be higher than those married couples with children with no special needs.

Utah parents with autistic children might want to consider all of their child’s special needs before filing for child custody. Parents working together, even after a divorce, can help provide a stable foundation for children with conditions such as autism. The formation of a special needs trust might be set up to help defray any future special education and medical expenses that the child will need after childhood and through adulthood. Preparations such as these made during the divorce could put both parents’ minds at ease so that they can focus on loving and caring for their special child.

Source: The Huffington Post, “When Parents of a Child With Autism Divorce: Separating Myth From Reality“, Bari Zell Weinberger, April 4, 2014

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