Divorce and Children with Special Needs

Having a child with special needs can place additional strain on a marriage, as parents inevitably put the child’s needs before their own. It’s a situation that can cause unwanted and previously uncharacteristic emotions in partners, such as jealousy of the attention given to the child, feelings of neglect, and denial of the complexity of the situation.


Clock with time for children written on it.In a moving blog for Thinking Moms Revolution, one mother opens up about the reasons behind her divorce. In her case, her husband denied the daily reality of their son’s autism, was jealous of the way his wife ‘saved’ his child on a daily basis, and often appeared not to be listening to the true status of their son’s condition.

Never enough money or time

The blog highlights one of the major issues in such a marriage; resources, both financial and emotional. As she says,

“Chances are, in a special-needs family, there is never enough money or time. That means that priorities have to be set. Conflict on those priorities is a major source for friction.”

This also includes making time for themselves as a couple, as “Burnt-out folks find it difficult to plan fun activities for themselves and their partner.” It wasn’t just a case of one partner ‘getting away”, it was a case of both partners finding time and space to reconnect, regroup, and re-establish that feeling of being special to their partner.

Divorce and the special needs child

The blog highlights the very real fears parents with special needs children have over divorce, including the logistics of care, the possible conflict over important medical decisions and interventions, worries over the financial implications and, of course, the impact a divorce might have on the children, special needs or not.

At LGFL, we understand the concerns parents with special needs children will have concerning divorce, but we can also reassure anyone in that position that they are not the first to divorce and thrive, rather than just survive. If a marriage is beyond redemption, a divorce might well be better for all concerned, especially if it can be conducted in a calm, professional and less stressful way.

Divorce with less stress

We have had considerable success in guiding couple through low-stress divorces by bringing our skills as mediators and legislators, to minimise court proceedings and emotional confrontations. We work with you to assess your circumstances and plan a way forward. We spend considerable time ensuring that any financial settlement takes into consideration both current and future needs of yourself as the primary carer (if applicable) and the needs of your children, both now and long term.

As experienced family lawyers dealing with all kinds of divorce cases, we can reassure you that the divorce process can be amicable or at least not antagonistic, child care arrangements can be organised without confrontation (via us if you wish) and financial settlements can be reached that provide for future needs.

Most of all, rest assured that our priority is the welfare of children, and you as our client.

Call us if you’d like to discuss your situation further. We offer a free 30 minute face to face consultation for clients within a 30 mile radius of our peaceful, calm countryside offices. (If it’s tricky for you to get away from your home, we can conduct this consultation via Skype instead.)