Divorce and Children with Special Needs
Divorce is hard for anyone who goes through it. The dissolution of your marriage can spark strong emotions. And while it is perfectly natural to feel a great deal of fear, anger, and disappointment, you must think clearly about your rights, interests, and future. If you have a special needs child, it is even more important to remain calm, rational, and clear-headed as you work through your divorce and child custody settlement. You should hire an attorney to help you along the way.
If you are made the custodial parent, it will be your responsibility to deliver what your child requires daily. You may have never consciously thought about and written down all that is required to keep your special needs child safe and healthy. To get a sense of this, you should walk through a “day in the life” of caring for your child with your attorney.
The expenses for medical care, services, and equipment will all need to be taken into account. You must also make clear their non-prescription treatments and nutritional needs. Any specialized care and professional help you may require to give you some rest and relief should also be set down in writing. This information will be vital in determining child support payments.
You and your ex must also work out a parenting plan. If it agreed that you should be the custodial parent, then you will need to decide how many contacts your ex will have. Security, stability, and routine are essential in caring for a special needs child. Shuttling the child between you and your ex with too much frequency is not an option and the visitation schedule you put together should reflect that.
Your divorce agreement should also deal with unique issues related to the child’s transition to adulthood. Eligibility for government or private agency benefits, future employment opportunities, recreation, and social care, and independent living arrangements are just a few of the issues you will need to contend with. If your child has severe and life-long impairments, then you will need to care for them indefinitely. You must sort out how that will work, and whatever agreement you make should include what will happen should one or the other of you remarry.
Protecting the health and welfare of your child is your first priority. To get the best outcome for your child, you will need the help of competent and experienced lawyers. You should contact our office to get the help you require.