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Child Support & Custody for Divorcing Parents of a Child with Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month, and it's time to clear up an awful myth. You may have seen the ugly claim flashed around the internet that there is an 80 percent divorce rate for parents of children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The good news is that this is an unfounded claim. A number of studies have even indicated otherwise.

The biggest of these studies can be found in the 2012 edition of Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. This study examined information on 77,911 kids: children with ASD were just as likely to be a child of divorce as any other children were. Smaller studies have shown that there is a higher divorce rate for parents of a child with autism (23.5 percent vs. 13.8 percent), but that is definitely not an 80 percent rate. Again, that is an example of a small study, one that only looked at 391 cases. It's pretty safe to say that divorce rates are not very much different for parents of children with ASD compared to the divorce rate among parents of children without autism. That being said, there are special considerations that might enter the process when divorcing parents have a child with autism.

Your Parenting Plan

Just as with any divorce, it is often best to work with an experienced family lawyer who can help you protect your child's best interests when it comes to determining child custody and your parenting plan. But you may also want the assistance of a family therapist, especially if this is someone who already knows your child or is knowledgeable about autism. In this way, you may be able to find the best arrangement for your child, one that considers potential issues of separation, the need to be consistent in the schedule, how to prepare for changes, etc.

Child Support

While this is a vital aspect of any divorce involving children, parents of a child with ASD may need to take additional measures, beyond even a careful decision about child support payments. For example, many divorcing parents look into creating a special needs trust. This can cover your child's present expenses, and it can also provide for your child's future medical, educational, even daily expenses, and more.

When you are seeking to pursue as amicable a divorce as possible, while still being able to hold on to all your rights, be sure to contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. An experienced family lawyer in Long Island can help you understand you and your child's rights, as well as how to protect these rights throughout this complex legal process. Get the answers you need, and find the representation you deserve today!