There is no doubt that having a child with disabilities can present a number of unique challenges and additional pressure points for a married couple or any couple raising a child. There are many different issues that come to mind for parents with disabilities, including stress, emotions, the financial repercussions, and even potentially, grief. As more parents than ever are dealing with a diagnosis of special needs, including autism, more researchers are looking into the impact on the family and the marriage.
A study recently published by the National Institute of Health offers clear insight into whether or not the divorce rate truly is higher for families who have children with disabilities. The results of that 50-year study were published in 2015 and they identified that parents of children with disabilities have approximately a 2% higher risk of getting a divorce. Given that there is a 3% margin of error in the study overall, that difference may be negligible.
The research study did, however, find interesting results associated with family size. For those families without children with disabilities, the more children that the couple had, the more likely they were to divorce. However, the opposite was true for families that had children with disabilities. The more children that the couple had, so long as one of them had a disability, the less likely they were to divorce. The study hypothesized that caring for the child with disabilities was distributed more evenly amongst many people, making the situation easier to manage overall. If you are contemplating divorce regardless of a variety of different potential stress factors or issues within the marriage, setting aside time to consult with an experienced divorce attorney is strongly recommended.
Divorce is hard for anyone, but special planning is required if you have a child with a disability.