Innovative Solutions to Unusual Problems

When you are parents going through a divorce when a child with a handicap is part of the mix, what do you do? There are so many variables at work that can affect the decisions that must be made. First of all, consider the severity of the handicap. Is the child in a wheelchair, immobile or in need of constant attention? Does the child have a severe vision or hearing problem? It does or can make a difference. There have been cases that I am familiar with where there was a child who was medically fragile and could not be moved out of the marital home. What does that mean? Should only one of the parents be able to parent the child? Absolutely not. But, it may take some innovation and cooperation on the parents’ part. There is a technique known as “nesting” when the child remains in the home, and the parents have an additional home or apartment and alternate staying in the primary home with the child. This only works if the parents are truly committed to the child and to working together. For many other types of handicaps, it may be that both parents engage in the child’s life and treatment. If you have a deaf child, you will both want to learn sign language, and be prepared to understand how schooling works, how hearing aids work, etc. There is a saying “think outside the box” and in these cases, it certainly applies. There is no reason a handicapped child cannot benefit from two loving and devoted parents, even when those parents no long wish to live together in a marital relationship. Just “think outside the box.” It will benefit your child in the long run.

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