Child with Special Needs - How Does That impact Our Child Custody Proceeding?

Cases involving children with special needs  are near and dear to my heart because I have a child on the autism spectrum.  These cases present their own unique challenges with custody, visitation, and support and require parents to develop creative solutions to these problems.  

The Impact of Divorce on Children With Special Needs

When a child has special needs it is vitally important that both parents find a way to put aside their differences and find common ground for the benefit of their children. Children with special needs have unique needs related to visitation. Sometimes an equal time sharing arrangement that would be appropriate for a child without special need will totally upset the apple cart of a child with special needs. My own son would not have benefited from an equal time sharing arrangement because his unique needs required that he have a schedule where he spent the night in the same place most of the time. My experience with cases involving children on the spectrum is that this is true In many of these cases.  This is not a judgment of one parent’s fitness to parent or parenting abilities, it is simply a decision that parents need to consider based upon the unique needs of their children. When you have a child with special needs, creativity, compassion for your child’s needs, and cooperation are key.

If a trial becomes necessary, it will be important to demonstrate to your judge how your child’s unique needs impact your child’s day to day life and the role you have played in the care of your child and in finding the resources necessary to help your child succeed despite their unique needs.

Child support for adult dependent children must also be considered when your child has special needs as well as how any support that is paid may impact your child’s qualification for social security benefits or Medicaid.