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Protecting an autistic child during and after your divorce

All divorces have the potential to disrupt families. If you have a child with autism, however, your divorce may be catastrophic to your child. As a parent, you will need to work diligently to safeguard your child's wellbeing following your divorce proceedings. 

As you probably know, your child's life is likely to change considerably after your divorce. Because children on the autism spectrum often have a more difficult time adjusting to a new way of life than those who are not autistic, you must consider your child's interests when drafting a post-divorce parenting plan. Here are some important matters to consider. 

Custody and housing 

You and your spouse probably know how best to parent your child. However, one of you may be in a better position to care for your autistic child after your divorce. When deciding who should have primary custody, think about housing modifications, special school locations, health care providers and other relevant matters. 

Government assistance 

Depending on the severity of your child's autism, he or she may be eligible for government assistance. Because child support payments may affect long-term benefits, you may want to collaborate with a financial advisor and social worker to determine how best to provide for your child. To avoid overlooking important information, your family law attorney may manage this team. 

Future modifications

Your autistic child may require different care after he or she ages. So even though you may wish that you do not have to revisit your child custody orders, that may not be practical. You must keep an open mind to making future modifications to your custody agreement. As your child's needs change, you may need to renegotiate parental obligations. 

A comprehensive parenting plan may offer a way for both you and your soon-to-be ex to best meet the needs of your children after your divorce. While these plans are effective in most divorce cases that involve children, they are especially important for families with autistic children. With a thorough plan, you increase the likelihood that your autistic son or daughter copes more effectively with your divorce.

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