Custody Issues When Your Child Has ADHD

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

ADHD and Children

The Center for Disease Control has estimated that 11 percent of children above the age of 4 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also referred to as ADHD. ADHD is a lifelong biological condition that takes on several forms. A person with ADHD will manifest the condition in some combination of: (1) an inability to concentrate; (2) impulse control issues; and/or (3) hyperactivity. According to the organization Understood, ADHD can affect a child’s social skills, self-control, and learning skills. Further, children with an ADHD diagnosis have also been known to also have learning disabilities, problems with social communication, auditory processing issues, behavior disorders, and emotional regulation issues.

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD Post Separation

Children with ADHD can have an incredibly wide range of needs, depending on their diagnoses. If you have a child that has been diagnosed with some form of ADHD, you are intimately familiar with your child’s needs and how to meet those needs. When parents separate or divorce, a child’s special needs do not go away. In fact, it is more important than ever for parents to remain focused on your child and to find a way to be productive co-parents. This can be accomplished with the following advice in mind.

  • Both parents must reach acceptance of the diagnosis. This means that parents need to stop blaming each other, or blaming the child for the child’s condition. ADHD is not anybody’s fault. The sooner that parents accept the diagnosis, they can move forward toward properly addressing their child’s needs. A parent in denial about their child’s needs cannot meet those needs.
  • Both parents must actively learn about ADHD and their child’s diagnoses. Having two parents who are on the same page about their child’s diagnosis is truly in the child’s best interest. If one parent is highly knowledgeable and attentive, while the other is not, this creates a discrepancy in the care the child will receive during visitation periods. Also, this imbalance in knowledge and effort will not be lost on a judge making custody decisions.
  • If your child needs medication or therapy, it is critical that each parent remain consistent in continuing to administer medication in appropriate dosages and bringing the child to appointments while the child is in their care.
  • A child must receive stability and structure. This means consistent routine, consistent medication, consistent therapy, consistent redirection, and consistent discipline. Especially in the context of a separation or divorce, parents must make a special and united effort to separately, yet consistently, parent their child. Communication is a key to this consistency.
  • Separated or divorced parents must be on the same page regarding the child’s expenses. A parenting plan must account for insurance and the medical expenses associated with treating the child.

Contact New Direction Family Law

If parents cannot find a way to supportively co-parent their child with ADHD, the child will suffer. In this scenario, you should contact New Direction Family Law to discuss modifying the child custody arrangement to serve the child’s best interest. We take pride in aggressively advocating for our clients and will provide you with professional, supportive representation. Let us assist you. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to set up an appointment or visit us at our website.