For Texas parents who share a child with autism, a number of challenges can occur. Many times, both parents become so focused on meeting the needs of their children that they fail to attend to their own relationship. Over time, many of these families will experience divorce and a resulting child custody shift. Some research has suggested that families with autism face an 80 percent rate of divorce. More recent research asserts that the actual risk is far lower, but that divorce is still higher among families with an autistic child than the general population.
When parents choose to end their marriage, they remain connected in their co-parenting roles. This is true regardless of whether their children have special needs. For parents of an autistic child, however, there is an even greater need to work out a child custody plan that is in line with the best interests of their child.
In structuring a custody plan, many parents find that their child’s existing therapist can play a vital role. That individual is in many ways uniquely qualified to weigh in on custody matters. He or she is connected to the child but has no particular bias toward either parent. In this way, the therapist can make suggestions that are based solely on the needs of the child. This input can help the parents focus on the task at hand, rather than becoming distracted by their own wants and needs in regard to custody.
Fortunately, Texas parents who have a child with autism are already familiar with the challenges of adapting to their child’s unique set of needs. This can make it easier to continue to remain focused on the best interests of the child as the divorce process moves forward. In some ways, families with autism are uniquely geared toward reaching a child custody outcome through a collaborative process.