How to navigate divorce with a special needs child

How to navigate divorce with a special needs child

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Divorce

Michigan parents who have a child with special needs probably already understand the additional stresses on their marriage. According to some studies, the divorce rate among parents of special needs children may be as high as 87%. While divorce is never easy, it’s often even harder to navigate when the couple shares a child with special needs.

Creating a parenting plan

Parents who commit to working together following a divorce typically create a written parenting plan that serves as their roadmap. However, when those parents share a child with special needs, they must make other considerations within that plan. Your new parenting plan should include details about who is primarily responsible for healthcare, meetings with teachers, and other responsibilities tied to your child’s needs.

Avoiding parentification

The term “parentification” refers to a situation in which a child becomes a de facto parent to one or more of their siblings. While this often happens in a divorce, it is even more common when a sibling has special needs. Creating a parenting plan that protects any siblings from dealing with parentification is important.

Creating unique parenting plans

In addition to avoiding the parentification of any of your children, you should also consider that your special needs child may occasionally need additional time with you or your ex. In those moments, be willing to compromise with your ex. This may include creating a parenting plan that only applies to your special needs child.

Many children with special needs require specialized care beyond their 18th birthday. While the courts only mandate the type of care parents must provide for children until that day, parents of children with special needs realize that their commitment to their children goes beyond that. As you enter this next chapter, establishing a healthy pattern for your family can ensure that everyone receives the love and support they need.