Strategies to consider when divorcing a spouse with autism
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions that are characterized by challenges with social skills, speech and nonverbal communication. Depending on where on the autism spectrum a person is, the relationship that the person is in may or may not be impacted by their condition.
If you are married to a person with autism, it’s likely that you are already adequately informed on their behavior patterns. Therefore, you’ll probably be able to predict how they might react in the event of your filing for a divorce. The following are some ways that you can impact the divorce process and make it easier for both yourself and your divorcing spouse.
Understand how ASD impacts your spouse
It’s likely that you’ve learned to love and live with your spouse without specifically categorizing what aspects of their personality are impacted by their ASD. Think about the ways in which their ASD could make their response to the divorce more difficult, and plan for this when considering your approach.
Manage the risk of depression and anxiety
Those with ASD have a higher risk of depression and anxiety, especially after a sudden event like a divorce. With this in mind, you should consider undergoing couple’s therapy with your divorcing spouse or understanding the ways that you could reduce the risk of these mental health issues.
Create co-parenting strategies
Individuals with ASD can be extremely successful parents when they have a clear schedule and need to complete concrete tasks. Therefore, if you’re able to create a structured parenting plan together that helps your ex to effectively contribute and engage with your children, you’ll have a good chance of having a great co-parenting relationship in the future.
Try to collaborate
During the entire divorce process and the aftermath, it’s best if you are able to work together rather than against each other. Reassure your spouse that while you want a divorce, you are still on their side and want to establish a solution that is best for both of you.
Going through a divorce when you’re married to a person with ASD can be particularly challenging. Make sure that you manage the process effectively and consider engaging in couple’s therapy.