Making sure that the emotional and financial needs of any child are met
during a divorce should be the complete focus of any parent. When that
child has special needs, the divorce will need to take care to minimize
the disruption in that child's life and make sure that every legal
decree is considering the best possible good for the child.
Giving Your Special Needs Child Extra Consideration
For parents of a special needs child, it may not be possible to use standard
custody and visitation decrees. The court process may be longer as the
medical, emotional, psychological and occupational needs of the child
can put additional strain on a one-parent household. Child custody and
visitation will examine which parent is a better medical caregiver on
top of their other responsibilities, and determine which family member
may be best equipped to make this commitment to the child.
Being clear with a divorce attorney about the child's condition and
what their needs are can help make the divorce process easier. A lawyer
will be able to negotiate the terms of the divorce for the best interests
of the special needs child. It also may be worthwhile to invite the input
of doctors, psychologists, and other medical professionals to help shed
more light on the situation.
Custody of the child will largely affect the child support arrangement
and the division of marital property. Child support payments may be larger
to compensate for the care the child needs, and may even continue well
past a child turns 18 or is out of secondary school. Marital property
may be divided in such a way that the parent with primary custody of the
child keeps the family home since it is equipped specifically for the
special needs child.
A final divorce order may include provisions to revisit child custody as
the child gets older, details on specialized medical care, and other parental
trainings on the child's care. A divorce attorney will be able to
work with the parents to draft an agreement that is to the benefit of