Navigating Divorce When Your Child Has Special Needs

Figuring out how to live life on your own after a divorce takes time, and there are typically many steps involved in the process. If you are divorcing and are also the parent of a special needs child, you may find that you have to work through additional considerations during your split that friends and colleagues who divorce may not.

Just what sorts of additional matters may you need to consider during your divorce as a parent of a special needs child?

Financial considerations

Caring for a child with special needs often costs a considerable sum. Your special needs child may take advantage of certain forms of government assistance, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. Your child must undergo means-testing to qualify for these benefits, so you need to take this into account when figuring out child support arrangements and the like to make sure he or she maintains eligibility.

Custody and visitation considerations

Special needs children sometimes require unconventional or atypical¬†custody arrangements. Depending on your daughter or son’s disability, you may have cause to make your custody arrangement particularly consistent and structured. If your child has a physical disability that requires, for example, a special form of transportation, you need to determine how he or she is going to travel back and forth between homes, too.

Parenting plan considerations

While creating a parenting plan is a good idea for all parents, parents of special needs children may find such plans especially beneficial. Parenting plans for children with disabilities may need to contain pertinent information about the child’s diet, living environment, and mobility and communicative abilities, among other areas commonly covered in such plans.

Divorce may be challenging for everyone involved. However, having a solid plan in place may make the transition easier on you, your ex, and your special needs child. The more time you take creating a plan for caring for your child after divorce, the less likely you are to run into unanticipated trouble.

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