Divorcing when you have a child with special needs

Getting divorced when you and your spouse have a child is not usually simple. There are custody decisions that must be made, co-parenting arrangements to grapple with and details about child support that have to be ironed out.

Of great importance is informing your youngster of the changes in their life that will ensue once you are divorced and both parents no longer live together.If you have a child with special needs, there are even more specifics that have to be thought over very carefully.

Unpleasant feelings may understandably exist between you and your spouse after splitting up. You will have to put all that aside. Your youngster needs both of you every bit as much as before the divorce, maybe even more.

What must be considered?

For some kids with special needs, such as those on the autism spectrum, predictability and permanence count a lot. Anything major or unexpected can be disturbing to them. Keeping the disruption to a minimum and easing your child through it gradually should be a primary goal.

In divorce and custody situations involving a child with special needs, there are matters both co-parents must be aware of and willing to handle. Here are questions you need to ask:

  • Can each of you deal with the ongoing management of the child’s medical needs?
  • Will the child still have adequate access to any special services they need?
  • What decisions need to be made about guardianship, estate planning, independent living later on, health insurance and Social Security?
  • Does each household have to be physically adapted for a wheelchair, outdoor ramp or other equipment the child has to have every day?
  • Can the child be comfortably and safely transported from one household to the other on a regular basis for visitation?
  • Can you both agree about their educational arrangements?

When you and your ex have trouble agreeing about your child

Resolving these complex matters may be challenging. If you can’t come to an agreement on the above issues and others that affect your child, maybe you canhave someone else step into help smooth things out.

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