Parental responsibilities differ for families with disabled kids

After a nearly 60 years of research and data collection, researchers at the Waisman Center finally released their findings concerning divorce rates for parents of disabled children. The study also included a separate focus on parents of otherwise developmentally normal children and their possibility of divorce. The intention was to test whether the assumption that having a child with a disability would lead to higher chance of divorce. While the reasons behind a divorce will vary from couple to couple, Colorado parents will still have to address parental responsibilities in the child custody of agreement whether their child was born with or without a disability.

When looking at married parents who had children without any disabilities, researchers determined that parents of only children experienced the lowest divorce rate. After that, for each additional child the chance of filing for divorce went up. Ultimately, the largest families without any divorced children were significantly more likely to have divorced parents than families with fewer children.

Conversely, families with disabled children experienced the opposite. For each successive child born into a family with an already-disabled child, the parent's chance of divorce remained unchanged. This seemed to contradict the long held assumption that parents of disabled children experience higher marital stress that ultimately leads to higher divorce rates. Researchers determined that, by having more children who can help care for a disabled sibling, stress is actually lowered for these parents.

Thorough and careful research such as this helps provide invaluable insight into differences that are present the human condition. Parental responsibilities can also differ between various families, as children with disabilities might require specialized medical care or attention. Since Colorado parents are usually the people most familiar with the needs and best interests of their children, the vast majority of child custody agreements can be successfully drafted during mediation or direct negotiations.

Source:, "No Increase in Divorce for Big Families With Disabled Child", Traci Pedersen, Oct. 31, 2015

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