Special Needs Children and Divorce

by Jan 18, 2022Article

Divorce can be an extremely complicated and difficult ordeal for many families. For families who have children, parting ways can be complex, particularly for families with a child who has special needs. Special needs children tend to have a more difficult time dealing with parents separating. Negotiations over child support, parental responsibility, custody, and property division are often more difficult to handle when it involves a child with special needs. In certain cases, special needs children require more extensive educational, medical, and individualized care. When deciding on divorce agreements, Florida courts holistically account for a variety of factors to take the best interests of children into account. Read on to learn more about some tips for caring for a special needs child while going through the divorce process. 

Divorce and Special Needs Children

While people from many different divorce situations should consider working with a divorce attorney, it is especially important to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side if your child has special needs. It is critical to let your divorce lawyer know from the beginning that your child has special needs so that they can help you plan. A lot of child support plans assume that the child will eventually be financially and physically independent, and will one day assume financial responsibility for his or her own affairs. However, this is not always the case with special needs children. Your attorney would have to pursue a different kind of child support agreement throughout your divorce case. Bring as much information on your child’s situation to your initial consultations with your attorney. Information to share include how much time every day you spend caring for your child, and the educational and medical expenses that come with caring for your child. You should also obtain and organize any legal documents related to the medical condition of your child. 

Meeting With Your Child’s Doctors

You and your child’s doctors should convene and comprehensively discuss the challenges your child could face during the divorce process, after agreed-upon measures are put into place, and what kind of living situation is in the best interest of him or her. You can get a better idea of challenges that may come up during divorce [proceedings by consulting with your child’s doctors.

How Your Child’s Disability May Impact Your Divorce

The nature of your child’s disability will affect your divorce. Specific kinds of time-sharing agreements may be required for children with special needs. For example, children who fall on the autism spectrum will be frightened and disturbed by frequent changes. This means that if you have a child with an autism spectrum disorder, they may need to stay in a fixed place versus moving from one residence to another as part of the time-sharing agreement. Moreover, if your child is seeing a specialist in a specific area, and your spouse doesn’t live around there, you may also need to make a specialized time-sharing agreement. The experienced divorce attorneys at Swickle & Associates can help you come up with different potential options for caring for a special needs child during a divorce.

Contact Us Today

If you have a special needs child and are going through a divorce, you will need an expert divorce lawyer to guide you through the best options for your child. Call Swickle & Associates today for a consultation.