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The Unintended Effects On Special Needs Children During Divorce
By: Richard Sopko on Jan 24 2019
Parenting a child with special needs, your life becomes exponentially more complex after their arrival. You have to think not only of their immediate safety, surroundings and the limitations they may face but of their long term education and happiness. Some children will need supervision and support for the rest of their lives. Hopefully both of the parents can put aside any differences they may have for the sake of the child but that's not always easy to do specifically while going through a divorce.
What qualifies to make someone considered a 'special needs' child is generally determined by the school system.
Taking care of and living with someone with special needs is a full time job in and of itself. Ensuring the child experience as little change in their routine during a divorce is crucial. This means that the mental and physical benefits they require remain uninterrupted. For instance if the child has public benefits, your attorney should make sure that child support is structured in a way as to not affect them. Not only should they remain uninterrupted while the child is under 18 but a plan should be in place for the continued care past 18. The realities of a life without the parents being the source of care should also be discussed. Although the child moving beyond the parent's sphere of influence is not always possible. It should be treated case by case.
A large part of any divorce is the splitting of the assets. When a special needs child is involved a comprehensive listing of the specific unique expenses they require will need to be provided. This includes any special education requirements, medical equipment, and transportation costs. Specific expenses relating to the child's special needs will not be covered in the Child Support Guidelines, so for them to be considered the court will need to be made aware of them usually through the attorney.
If the child has an IEP or Individualized Education Program, your attorney will also need to be made aware of that. IEP's do not require two parent approval, but for the sake of the child it is always preferred that their is a level of cooperation to ensure their best chance at educational success.
Besides the considerable expenses of a special needs child there is also the amount of time that may be involved. This could have an impact on your ability to maintain full time employment, or you may need the assistance of a home health aide. Making your attorney aware of these time constraints will also be crucial during the process. It may affect benefits and child/spousal support payments.
I'm sure this seems like an insurmountable amount of things to consider, and each one is very important to the child. The care of a special needs child requires a significant amount of cooperation, but not all separations are amicable. Any divorce regardless of circumstances is going to be incredibly difficult to go through even with no children involved. However a qualified patient attorney will be able to sit with you and make sure every possibility is being sorted through in the child's best interest.
If you are seeking representation for a divorce related case call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out a contact form on our website for a no-cost consultation.We hope to hear from you today!
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