Divorce is difficult in the best of situations in Georgia, but having a special needs child involved in a divorce makes it an entirely different and more challenging situation. Mediating around children in divorce can be one of the most stressful parts of the process, but the addition of special needs makes everything at once more stressful and more important. It is important to ensure that your child has the care that he or she needs to flourish. This is why the Autism Community in Action recommends having very clear rules on decision-making where the child is concerned.

For instance, it is first important to decide if there will be a co-parenting situation or if one parent will have primary custody. Then, both parties need to decide who will make what decisions and who has greater power. For instance, if the child requires any sort of special education, will both parents be constantly making those decisions or will one parent take decision-making priority? Particularly in the case of an acrimonious divorce, the custodial parent may wish to secure all decision-making abilities regarding education.

Having a plan for medical treatment is also of vital importance. Failure to have a comprehensive compliance plan in place may result in additional lawsuits. For instance, often one parent decides that he or she no longer wants to pay for the current expensive medical treatments that the child is receiving and will take the child to a different position to get a second opinion on the treatment. This can lead to very sticky situations. It is important to designate one parent has the decision maker or have very clear joint decision-making duties.