As a parent with a child who has autism, it’s important that your child has access to the schools and services they need to grow up to be as independent as possible. As you probably know, having to live in a specific school district and needing specialized programs can lock you into living in one area. That’s something that has to be accounted for in your divorce.
One thing that you will need to talk about with your spouse is how you want to handle child support. Child support is assigned based on guidelines the state has in place, but when you have a child with special needs, there may be additional support needed. Who will provide health insurance to your child? Who will take them to and from programs, and how will those travel costs be paid?
Custody arrangements have to consider your child’s needs
Custody arrangements also have to consider the special needs your child has. If they need to go to a specific school, then it may be impossible for them to live with the other parent living in a different district. Similarly, your child may not be able to travel back and forth from house to house based on their disability and special needs. In those cases, you will have to talk about how custody and custody exchanges will work to lessen the burden on your child.
If you are going to request child support, you may also need to speak with your spouse about spousal support. If you have to live in a specific area for your child’s needs and cannot work as frequently as you’d like because of having to take them to appointments or special programs, then that has to be discussed. Your ex-spouse may need to cover more of your financial needs in exchange for taking care of your child’s needs each day. That includes paying to improve your income and helping you afford to live in the areas where your child will get the best care.
Every situation involving an autistic or special needs child is going to be a little different. That’s why it is so important to discuss your situation and to communicate your needs. As a caregiver of a special child, it’s vital that you both continue to do what is best for your child so that they can grow up as independently as possible.