Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amanda Keating, Ph.D.


family, fathers, marriage, mothers, parenting, qualitative


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that includes persistent impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities. The purpose of this study is to capture the perspectives and experiences of parents who are divorced but are still coparenting their child with ASD. Current literature gives insight into how ASD affects the family system, but there is no literature to date that examines how parents coparent their child when the family system is split. ASD is a lifelong and impactful disorder impacting not just the individual’s adaptive functioning, but also all relationships within the family system. Often times, families with a child diagnosed with ASD have reported strained parental marital relationships due to the increased demands on the parents, which, at times, may lead to divorce (Cridland et al., 2014; DePape & Lindsey, 2015).

This study took take a qualitative interview approach to gain insight into parents’ experiences with coparenting post divorce through the use of open-ended interviews. Inductive and deductive thematic analysis provided data to assist in understanding the experiences of parents raising a child with ASD within the context of divorce, what impact divorce has on themselves and their child, how parents work with their coparenting partner to share and divide responsibilities related to their child, how parents in a coparenting relationship work to minimize the impact of the divorce on their child diagnosed with ASD, as well as understanding what challenges persist in coparenting their child with ASD post divorce.