A recent study conducted by Brian Freedman of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore has dispelled a popular myth circulating among the parents of autistic children: the divorce rate among such families is 80 percent. According to the study’s researcher there aren’t any truly significant differences in the divorce rate of couples with an autistic child and a couple without. Although these findings seem to contradict previous theories about divorce and autism, it offers little comfort to those within the autism community who have been impacted by divorce. Divorcing couples of children with autism must be made aware of how divorce may impact their child.
South Jersey Family Law Attorneys Identify Goals For Divorcing Parents of a Child with Autism
Divorcing parents of an autistic child must be respectful of the child’s resistance to parenting time transitions. Parents can ease this discomfort by reducing the number of transitions. While both parents may wish to spend as much time as possible with the child, the constant transition from one parent’s home to the others can be disruptive to the child’s acceptance of the situation. Similarly, separation anxiety can be elevated by a child’s inability to become “settled” in one place before it is time to head to the other parent’s home.
Estranged parents of a special needs child also need to adopt similar parenting styles in their separate homes. They should share the goal to maintain the child’s schedule in both homes. Autistic children do poorly with down time and unstructured free time. As constant change in routines and schedules can lead to the child regressing, both parents must coordinate their efforts and schedules so that the child continues to learn and grow, both academically as well as socially. Parents must reinforce their child’s learning methods and therapies with coordinated intensity and consistency.
The final goal of divorced parents of an autistic child is to align their finances so that their child may continue with needed, though often expensive, therapies. This may require one parent to take on a second job or for both parents to undergo training so that they may carry out the therapy in their homes. A coordinated effort to provide financially for the good of their autistic child should take precedence over their own monetary concerns.
Call South Jersey Special Needs Divorce Attorneys at Adinolfi and Lieberman
The South Jersey special needs attorneys at Adinolfi and Lieberman respond to the challenge of treating both parents fairly and equitably while safeguarding the needs and best interests of the autistic child of divorce. An experienced and highly credentialed special needs divorce attorney in the Haddonfield, New Jersey offices of Adinolfi & Lieberman, P.A., can provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Moorestown, Haddonfield, Mays Landing, Northfield, Mount Holly, Lumberton, Pemberton, Mullica Hill, Princeton, Marlton, Medford, Washington Township, Woodbury, Mt. Laurel, Atlantic City and all of Gloucester, Burlington and Camden County. Call our office today at 856.428.8334 to speak with an experienced South Jersey special needs attorney or contact us online.
Kimberly Packman joined the South Jersey family law firm of Adinolfi and Lieberman, in 2000 and has more than ten years of experience handling all types of family law matters involving special needs children, divorce, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, guardianships, Division of Youth and Family Services cases, and domestic violence.