Five Key Steps if Your Divorce Involves a Child with Special Needs

Five Key Steps if Your Divorce Involves a Child with Special Needs

If your child has special needs and you’re seeking divorce, the process is probably going to be complicated. You’ll want to ensure your child’s best interests are served, and there are lots of things to consider. Here are some of them.

  • Assigning the additional costs associated with special needs children.

Who is going to be responsible for medical costs after the divorce? What about therapy? Is the child going to have any treatment not covered by insurance?

  • Addressing issues associated with emancipation.

Is your child going to be able to live independently at the age of 19? If not, which parent will be his guardian? Or will the child live in an adult residential facility? It’s expected by family courts that there will be some kind of end date for child support, but this issue can be very complex with a special needs child. A special needs trust may have to be created.

  • Taking care of insurance.

It’s especially important if a child has special needs that the parents have insurance; the child needs to be adequately taken care of if a parent dies. You should confirm that your insurance is appropriate for your child’s situation.

  • Responsibility for transportation.

Your child may have therapy appointments or other regularly scheduled appointments every week, and these can be time consuming. Which parent will be responsible for getting the child to her appointments?

Can either—or both—parents take time off work? In some cases, caring for a the child makes it impossible for the custodial parent to work.

  • Decide who makes decisions.

This is a big one. There can be many consequential decisions in the life of a special needs child, and his parents may not agree about what kind of care is appropriate. In fact, issues revolving around care decisions are often a contributing factor in the divorce itself. Disputes about the appropriate treatment or education for a special needs child can drag out in court indefinitely, but it’s in the best interests of everyone to get this issue ironed out.

These are just a few of the considerations in a divorce with a special needs child. A divorce decree may need to include provisions for support for the child’s entire life. Every special needs child has unique requirements, and a divorce settlement should ensure that the child’s interests and well being are protected. Please contact us today to discuss the process further.

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