Autism Does Not Increase Divorce Rates

I remember when I first found out that my daughter was on the autism spectrum – I wasn’t only concerned about her future but I was also curious about how my marriage would fare. Fast forward a bit and my son was diagnosed as being on the spectrum. This wasn’t good news in the marriage department. By the time my son was diagnosed I’d read that 80% of married couples with a child with autism eventually divorced. However, a new study reveals that an autism diagnosis, by itself, does not increase divorce rates.

This is good news!

The study results were released during the International Meeting for Autism Research, in Philadelphia. This is the same place where the Clomid linked to increase in autism rates study results were also released to the public.

The data from nearly 78,000 American children was tabulated and 64% of children with autism had divorced parents and 65% of children without an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed had divorced parents. Of course these divorce numbers are still high but there is hope for married partners that have a child on the autism spectrum. The diagnosis is not a death sentence for your marriage.

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. thank you for speaking about autism is not the blame for divorce i heard on a talk show once that if u have a child with autism your marriage may end in divorce.

  2. This is both interesting and refreshing to hear. Almost all of the parents of children with autism aged birth to 21 who were the participants in my master’s thesis study were married. While the study sought to determine their perceptions of applied behavior analysis, this was information requested and provided in the survey I utilized. Divorce is difficult in all families to which I can attest being an adult child of divorced parents and sister of someone with special needs.

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing what you learned during your thesis study. I can’t imagine how this parenting journey would be without my husband there every step of the way.



  3. Dr. Stephen Davis says:

    I would frankly be very skeptical of this result. It sounds like a retrospective study. Now granted, my ex found plenty to criticize beyond her conviction that our son apparently inherited his autism from me – but “no effect” seems quite surprising, given that almost any stressor increases the likelihood of divorce. Regards, Steve