Unique Challenges of Divorce with a Child with Autism
If You Have a Child with Autism, Make Sure Custody Arrangements and Structured Parenting Agreements Are Properly Drafted with the Help of our Experienced Family Law Attorneys
Autism is a developmental difference in people caused by neurodivergence or differences in a person’s brain development. People on the autism spectrum are characterized by differences in social behavior, difficulties in social communication and interaction, diverse learning styles, and different interests. Autistic children are gifts to the world; their neurodivergence creates an outside-of-the-social-paradigms way of being and moving through their lives. However, this extent of uniqueness can be difficult for neuro normative people like parents, family, teachers, and peers to understand, let alone support. Neurodivergent or autistic children can also strain marriages because of the level of care required for such children. Sometimes, this leads to divorce. Whether having an autistic child has contributed to your divorce or not, getting divorced with a special needs child can make an already stressful life change exponentially more difficult. There are many considerations to make when getting divorced while raising an autistic child.
Our team at The Montanari Law Group is experienced in skillfully supporting clients through divorce and custody processes when special considerations of the long-term well-being of an autistic child must be involved. Contact us today for a free consultation with an attorney who can assist with your particular needs, and read on to learn a bit more about divorcing while raising an autistic child in New Jersey.
How can Divorce Impact a Child With Autism?
An autistic child will be disproportionately affected by a divorce decision. Children with autism thrive in environments of order and routine, and any divorce will upset the established flow of their lives, creating emotional and behavioral upset. Taking special care to infuse each step of the process and planning with measured steps that help the child cope and transition is key. Our team specializes in this type of transitional consideration.
Duties of the NJ Family Court Judge In Ensuring the Welfare of a Child With Autism
The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part will consider the best interests of any involved child as the foundational pillar for its decision-making. The additional needs, finances, and long-term outlook involved in supporting an autistic child will be taken into consideration by the family court judge, and our family law attorneys ensure that all unique areas of the child’s special needs life during and post-divorce, including the distant future, are accounted for in their considerations.
Is There a Difference Between Legal And Physical Custody 0f Autistic Children?
In a New Jersey divorce, legal and physical custody of a child are granted. Legal custody involves who will make major decisions around the child’s welfare and upbringing, including education and healthcare. Physical custody refers to who the child will reside with. Both parents can share legal custody of a child even if the child is living primarily with one parent. N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 addresses the types of physical and legal custody and addresses parents’ rights. Both parents have the right to an equal amount of time with their children and participation in their children’s lives if such an arrangement is in the child’s best interests. If parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the family court judge will apply the best interests standard to determine the best arrangement for a child.
Legal Concerns in Custody and Visitation Arrangements When a Child Has Autism
Autistic children need structure, consistency, and routine. They also need the patience and flexibility of parents when unforeseen emotional or behavioral issues arise. This can affect arrangements regarding parental visitation. While it is important to develop a highly organized parenting time agreement, particularly for autistic children, it is also important to have a strongly communicative relationship with your co-parent so that you can work together to navigate situations that interrupt the normal parenting time or custodial flow. The more detailed an official parenting time agreement, the better. That said, being able to work together to flow through necessary exceptions is key.
Explore the Support Options for Parents of an Autistic Child While Navigating a Divorce Process in Passaic County, NJ
You can find more information and support regarding divorce while raising autistic children at the Special Needs Alliance. Our team at The Montanari Law Group is also prepared and qualified to provide you with legal assistance regarding all elements of such a divorce, including parenting time agreements, long-term financial considerations and preparations, custody, and child support for parents of autistic children. We have facilitated divorce for parents of special needs children in Millburn, Haledon, Montvale, Ridgewood, Verona, Passaic City, Totowa, Wayne, and other Passaic, Essex, and Bergen County areas and look forward to helping you through this difficult yet hopeful transition. Contact us today at (973) 233-4396 to discuss your divorce. Consultations are always available and provided free of charge.