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Protecting the Interests of Special Needs Children in Divorce

Posted on in Visitation

Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce can be painful and confusing for any child, but most of them do eventually adjust. In contrast, children with special needs sometimes struggle to comprehend the reason why their family is fracturing. Worse yet, all the changes in their lives may cause them to regress or suffer from mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. Thankfully, parents can help ease the transition for their special needs children by carefully protecting their interests. 

Start with Communication 

When divorcing with a special needs child, communication is critical - and not just with your child. You also need to communicate with your spouse in a healthy, non-combative way. It is also important for you to effectively communicate with your attorney so that they can help you in drafting a parenting plan to suit your child’s specific needs. 

Implement Change Slowly (and Change as Little as Possible) 

Change can be difficult for children with special needs, and depending on the situation, it can lead to regression and other issues. Slow and gradual change can reduce the risk. It may also be possible to eliminate some changes. For example, parents might want to consider bird nesting - or, at the very least, keeping the child in the same home - until they have adjusted to the first set of major changes in their lives. 

Give Your Child Space to Express Their Feelings

All children need a safe space to express and talk about their feelings over their parents’ divorce, but special needs kids may express their emotions in different ways. For example, children with autism may have an increase in stimming behaviors and emotional outbursts. Allow your child to have these feelings and help them express them in a healthy way. 

Consider Your Child’s Needs as You Draft the Parenting Plan 

When drafting your Illinois parenting plan, carefully consider what is best for your child. Perhaps it is a 50-50 split with your spouse, or maybe it is spending most of their time living in one home. It could even be for you and your partner to cycle in and out of the home instead of your child (an arrangement otherwise known as bird nesting). If you need help, talk to your attorney and any specialists that may be a part of your child’s life (i.e. therapists, etc). 

Contact our Wheaton Parenting Time Lawyers 

If you are divorcing with a special needs child, contact Davi Law Group, LLC for assistance. Our seasoned DuPage County divorce attorneys aggressively protect the best interests of children. Call 630-580-6373 and schedule your personalized consultation with our legal team today. 


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