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Co-Parenting Children With Special Needs

Today I want to talk to you about co-parenting special needs kiddos. If you have a kiddo with special needs, you are more likely to get divorced.

It’s not exactly shocking. There all is a lot of conflict that can happen in households with special needs kiddos. And that could be everything from somebody who’s got a learning disability, all the way to somebody who’s got mobility issues, such as a child in a wheelchair or, a child who has to undergo repeated surgeries.

So any type of special needs that your kids have is going to create stress on your marriage. And, you may be more likely to end up divorced.

It’s going to be hard

Now co-parenting post-divorce with kids with special needs is really, really hard. Arizona has this presumption for joint legal decision making, which means that major decisions like, medical decisions and scholastic decisions have to made jointly.

Now, most of the time, it doesn’t really matter because there aren’t a lot of decisions that have to be made jointly that are major about most kids, but for kids with special needs of any type medication, issues, school issues, these decisions have to be made far, far more often, and they can be very, very intense.

In my own family, I’ve got four kiddos and two of my boys have been diagnosed with ADHD. Now, ADHD is not all that uncommon. I think one in 10 kids get diagnosed with ADHD, but it absolutely wreaks havoc on a kiddo, and it can affect every single aspect of their life, like their ability to interact with their peers, their ability to do well in school, their ability to learn,  and their ability to function in the school environment.

And, our oldest kiddo, we co-parented together. We made decisions together. We worked together and we did a really good job for him. He is doing really well. He is a freshman. And it went well now for our younger kiddo, who was more recently diagnosed with ADHD after our separation.

Neither of us assumed that he had ADHD, but when he started kindergarten, it became really clear to me that he was having a hard time learning. he just wasn’t retaining information the same way that all of my other kids have and same way that I would have expected him to.

So we were going over the same words all the time, and then he struggled all through kindergarten and I wanted to, intervene and, and behave in a way that I had similarly with our oldest kiddo, which was a lot intervention,  like neuro feedback and supplements and eventually medication.

My personal battle

And that worked. But with our, our younger kiddo, my ex-husband who has joint legal decision with me, decision-making with me was completely and fundamentally something he opposed. He was opposed to having our son evaluated for an IEP, as opposed to having, getting him additional resources in school, opposed to any sort of intervention like neurofeedback or, or supplements or, or anything like that.

And it made things very, very difficult. It’s eventually worked out slowly but surely, but things were taking so much longer than they would have if we were an intact, married family. And these, you know, people, if you’re in this situation, it can be very attempting to just run back to court. And, and I, I do think in cases where, where somebody, where there are kids who have any special needs, sole legal decision making or final legal decision making authority is, is so much more important than it is in normal case, but it’s also hard to get. And judges don’t necessarily understand. And we had a parenting coordinator who didn’t understand, she didn’t have special needs kiddos. She did not understand. And many people don’t, and it can be a real uphill battle. So you need to craft your parenting plan carefully.

We need to have a real strategy in place for how you’re going to communicate and how you’re going to make decisions. And then the other thing that you kind of have to do is let go of the things that you can’t control and realize that you have to be the best parent that you can for your kiddo, with the constraints that are real for you. And even though they weren’t the same constraints that you had when you’re married and you’ve got a new constraint, and it’s not easy, but I think with dedication and persistence and patience, you can still be a great advocate for your child. If you’ve got questions on that for parenting issues, special needs kiddos, make sure to contact modern law, we would love to help.