When there is a child with special needs care involved in a divorce, issues of child custody, visitation, child support, and property division are significantly more challenging to negotiate. It is important to determine what your child’s specific needs are and to communicate them to your attorney. Ultimately, everyone involved in the divorce process must make the well-being of their special needs child a priority when negotiating a divorce agreement.
Thinking about what matters most
When structuring your divorce agreement special attention should be given to parenting arrangements, medical care, and your child’s transition to adulthood. The most constructive way to begin is to find where you and your spouse agree concerning your child’s needs.
One of the biggest issues is deciding who will be responsible for the majority of the child care and how that spouse will be supported. Managing the care of a child with special needs can be a full-time job. Therefore, it’s important to consider the custodial parent’s financial needs when deciding on spousal support.
Medical care, health care insurance, and the child’s eligibility for public benefits as both a minor and adult should also be factors in determining alimony and child support payments. How much medical care does your child require? Who is responsible for paying the medical bills? How will the medical costs not covered by insurance be paid?
There are other considerations such as parenting schedules and what is involved in visitation. Traditionally, children of divorce spend weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other. However, for a child with special needs, changes in routines can be difficult. How will visitation be scheduled to best support your child? Are other requirements, such as equipment or wheelchairs, involved in transportation?
Divorce with a special needs child is a complex process that requires special guidance. Ensure that you work with an experienced family law attorney that has expertise in special needs case law.
Getting the help you need
There are few challenges more difficult than going through a divorce while having a child with special needs. In addition to more traditional divorce issues, such as child custody and property division, there are medical needs, safety considerations, public benefits, state services, and legal guardianship issues to consider.
While it’s never ideal for a family to break up, especially when there is a special needs child involved, sometimes divorce is necessary. At Buncher Law, we believe there is no shame in getting divorced. If you need the assistance of an Orange County divorce attorney, call for your free consultation today. We will make the system work better for you and your family.