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Family law: Helping autistic children through the divorce process

Divorce can be especially difficult on children. Under British Columbia family law, the best interests of children are always at the forefront. Children with special needs -- like those with autism -- may need more help to cope with their parents' divorce. Finding a mental health professional who has experience with children and autism may be helpful to the child, his or her parents and other family members.

Experts says how the parents behave around their children during the divorce process has a significant impact on the children, especially those who may have a harder time processing what is actually happening -- like children impacted by autism. Allowing the child to express his or her emotions and to ask questions that are answered with care and concern may help the situation. The needs of children with autism may be heightened during times of stress and anxiety, so it is important to be in touch with a child's needs during this time.

When parents can convey to their child that they are moving forward with compassion and care for each other, the child may feel less vulnerable. Getting some help with child care is nearly vital for parents to be able to also take care of themselves emotionally so they can do the same for their special needs child. Co-parenting a child with special needs can be overwhelming during an emotionally volatile time.

A compassionate lawyer who is experienced in British Columbia family law may be able to offer guidance when it comes to the best interests of all children involved in the divorce process. A lawyer may not only be able to guide a client regarding the legalities of divorce, but also may be able to provide further help by putting a client in touch with other professionals such as parent coordinators, family therapists and counsellors. When help is at hand, those involved in a divorce -- including special needs children -- may get through the tough times more easily. 

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