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Divorce of Parents of Children with Special Needs

Disponible en Español, aquí

Statistics say that divorce rates are higher when talking about parents of children with special needs. Many times the diagnosis or condition of the child, is pointed as the first cause of divorce; but being honest and sincere about it. You don’t get divorced because your child has special needs, but because you may not get the support you are looking for in one of the most sensitive situations of your life.

Divorce is an individual experience for every couple, but it sure doesn’t happen in a couple of days. It usually takes months or years of unhappiness and fights, before the option is thrown to the table. You don’t get divorced the day you sign the divorce papers, it has been actually a process before you are ready to do it.

These are some attitudes that may lead a couple to get divorced, when raising a child with special needs:

  • One of the parents, consciously or unconsciously, takes all the responsibility of raising the child 1 of 4
  • One of the parents feels that working full time exempts him or her from being involved or for taking turns when the child needs extra attention 2 of 4
  • Blaming or attacking each other is the worst thing to do 3 of 4
  • The opposite situation is when 4 of 4

In the end, is not a diagnosis that breaks up a couple, but the lack of commitment or support. Both parents are important, and both should find the way to handle the load, giving each other the time and attention they need to keep going as a family.

Details are truly important, and is good to be surprised with an unexpected detail, like sleeping late over the weekend, getting breakfast in bed, or just having the full attention of someone to listen to you without judging.

Values for keeping up with a healthy marriage are not different from having a child with or without special needs, and that’s important to remember. It’s not the circumstance, but the way we face challenges and the love we invest in them.

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