Mediating divorce with a spouse on the autism spectrum

Mediating divorce with a spouse on the autism spectrum

| Dec 17, 2020 | Uncategorized |

If you were married to someone with Asperger’s Syndrome or who is otherwise on the spectrum of autism, you probably already are familiar with the barriers to communication they experience. When divorcing through mediation, those barriers aren’t going to magically disappear, so you need to be able to accommodate them in the mediation process.

What that means will be different for every situation. The primary focus should initially be choosing a mediator with awareness about the issue and a willingness to work with them using a method that they can understand.

Their disability may masquerade as conflict

It can seem like they “just don’t get it” because, well, they just don’t get it. The “Aspie” spouse may truly not be trying to obfuscate the facts during mediation. They can be seeing apples where you are clearly discussing oranges. 

This is often the case when arranging a co-parenting system. The neurotypical parent can feel as if they are slamming themselves repeatedly into a brick wall because their spouse’s disability and black-and-white thinking patterns do not easily lend themselves to accepting the terms of a shared co-parenting agreement.

Accepting their limitations is part of the deal

Your parenting plan should take into account the aspects of your spouse’s disability over which they have little or no control. Being flexible might not be within their realm of possibility, so try not to ask unless it is a real emergency. If you are the neurotypical spouse and your ex is chronically late, try to build a buffer of time into the exchanges of the children so it will not be crucial for them to arrive at the exact scheduled time.

Accessing the information of the Families of Adults Affected by Asperger’s Syndrome (FAAAS) website can prove helpful during the mediation process.