Determining the Best Interests of Children with Special Needs

In all Texas child custody cases, the most important factor will relate to the best interests of your child. This is no different for Texas parents who have children with special needs.

If there is a dispute regarding the custody of your child — or regarding the costs associated with paying for your child’s disability expenses — the court will ultimately seek a decision that honors your child’s needs above all else.

How do you determine the best interests of a special needs child?

Although courts will be constrained by certain realities faced by the parents — their jobs, their schedules, and their incomes — the best interests of a child with special needs will reign supreme in all court decisions related to custody and child support. But how do you determine the best interests of a child?

The best interest of a child will be determined by the court by looking at the following factors, among others:

Who is most appropriate for the child to live with? Who has been the primary caregiver for the child? Will the child be capable of splitting his or her time equally between the parents or do the child’s special needs prevent this from being possible?

How frequently will the noncustodial parent have contact with the child if custody is not split 50/50? In what ways do the child’s special needs make parental visits more or less difficult? Are there any special concerns for the child in terms of scheduling?

What are the costs associated with the child’s care? Is one parent better equipped to pay the lion’s share of these costs or does it make sense to split them equally? How will the child’s health insurance costs be paid for? Does one parent have a better health insurance plan from the employer?

What are the child’s own wishes for post-divorce child custody? If the child is old enough or mature enough to participate in the conversation, a judge might take into account the child’s own opinion on the matter.

Protect your legal rights during your divorce

The divorce process could have some unique considerations regarding a special needs child. Parents will want to keep these special considerations for the child in mind during the course of their divorce proceedings.

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