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Are couples with disabled children at a greater risk of divorce?

Having a disabled child can be a blessing to a family, but may also present unique challenges that some Kentucky residents feel they are not up to. In an ideal situation, both parents, as well as extended family members, would all help to care for a disabled child and support each other during the trying times. This is sadly not always the case, however. If you have a disabled child, you are probably well aware that while you would never trade the child you love for another, the challenges you face can sometimes strain a relationship.

You might have also heard that marriages are more likely to end if there is a disabled child in a growing family. Is this true? Not necessarily, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Waisman Center. Psych Central reported that the results of the study showed that families with one or more disabled children did not generally experience divorce at a higher rate as they had more children. On the other hand, divorce may become more likely among families with non-disabled children as these families grow.

Why do families with disabled children seem to be stronger? One theory is that the other siblings may help their parents care for a disabled child and provide a source of support, which may strengthen family bonds. Despite the results of this study, the fact remains that many families experience challenges due to numerous factors besides having a disabled child. You or your spouse might, for example, have an alcohol or abuse problem, or you might simply have fallen out of love. You might have different parenting ideals that have grown more contentious as your children get older. Some challenges help to strengthen spouses and families, while others may drive them apart. It is fortunate that you have options if you discover that your marital challenges are too much to work through.

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