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Special Needs Kids and Divorce

Divorce is hard on everyone in the family, especially children. A special needs child may feel the effects of a divorce even more strongly than other children, and as a result may suffer from emotional and behavioral issues later in life. Parents should take extra precautions when explaining divorce to a special needs child and take care to keep the negative effects of the divorce to a minimum.

  • Talk to your child about the divorce. Answer any questions your child has, and reinforce the fact that that the divorce was not your child’s fault, but instead a decision between adults.
  • Keep big changes to a minimum. If possible, do not immediately change your child’s school district or activity groups. Keep your child’s routine as similar as possible to what it was before the divorce process began. If you need to introduce changes, do so slowly.
  • Create a structured environment. Some changes are inevitable, but for each change, create a new sense of structure. Make routines and set scheduled pick up and drop off times. Discuss disciplinary rules with your ex-spouse that should apply in both households.
  • Do not keep your child from visiting his or her other parent. Unless your ex-spouse is dangerous to your child, do not limit your child’s time spent with his or her other parent. Remember that it is important for your child’s emotional well-being to continue to see both parents on a regular basis. Consider visiting friends or relatives while your child is away to help cope with his or her absence.
  • Do not argue in front of your child. Arguments will just upset your child and make the whole process of adjustment more difficult. If you must discuss an issue with your ex-spouse, do so in a calm manner, or argue out of earshot of your child.

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If you have made the difficult decision to get a divorce, the Raleigh divorce lawyers of the Marshall & Taylor PLLC can help you through this difficult time. Contact our offices today at (919) 833-1040.