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What are the considerations for disabled children during divorce?

The divorce rate for parents of disabled children is higher than that of the rest of the country. Some researchers put the divorce rate of kids with autism as high as 85 percent. Most of these children have a more difficult time with divorce than children who are considered healthy.

A disabled child does put a strain on their family. In most cases, a parent leaves because he or she is simply not able to support the child in the manner in which they have in the past. However, there are support services and free special education for a disabled child.

When a divorce occurs, a guardian is often appointed until the child reaches the age of 18. There is no distinction between disabled and normal children under the law as to when he or she is able to make their own decisions or do whatever they want to do. At the age of 18, children and adults are the same. The guardian that is appointed to care for the disabled individual will be able to handle financial and medical decisions for the child.

Experts recommend that the parents of a disabled children ensure they have time to talk to each other every day. Setting aside 20 minutes each day can help improve relationships and keep the lines of communication open.

When divorce does occur, divorce mediation can help make the process a bit easier. With the help of a mediator, each party and his or her attorney can state his or her requirements for the divorce, including those regarding child custody, alimony and property division. Any divorce issues that cannot be agreed upon during mediation are brought before the judge to decide.

Source: children-and-divorce.com, "Divorce and Children with Disabilities," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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