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Addressing the needs of a special needs child during a divorce

Divorcing parents with special needs children may wonder what they can do to try to make their divorce easier for their kids. A couple of things that it is important for parents of children with mental or physical disabilities to do during a divorce is to keep in mind their child's particular needs and to take steps to address these needs.

One such need are a child's emotional needs. Children with special needs can be very sensitive to the moods of those around them. Thus, during a divorce, parents of special needs children may wish to exercise particular care when it comes to what emotions they express around their children.

Another such need are a child's care needs. Children with mental or physical disabilities often have many different types of care that they require. It is vital for parents to do everything they can to ensure that these needs continue to be met during and after a divorce. Such needs can be addressed in some of the legal matters that come up during a divorce. For example, child custody and child support arrangements can be tailored to take into account a child's care needs.

Another important need that children with physical or mental disabilities can have are stability needs. Instability in routine can be particularly impactful on special needs children. Thus, during a divorce, it can be important for parents to avoid making unnecessary changes to a special needs child's routine and to implement any necessary/inevitable changes as gradually as possible. Stability concerns are another thing that can be addressed in child custody arrangements.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce and the Child With Special Needs," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Feb. 3, 2014 

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