Co-parenting after a divorce can present a lot of unique challenges for parents and their children. If your children have special needs, the situation can become even more complex and layered, particularly if there are disagreements regarding treatment. Continue reading for some tips on how to navigate the obstacles you may face.
What to Consider When You Have a Child with Special Needs
Even in the most amicable circumstances, divorced parents may encounter some difficulties as they raise their children in the aftermath of a split. The better your parenting plan is, however, the easier it will be to minimize some of these conflicts.
Consider the following when creating a parenting plan for your special needs child:
- Consistency is essential: All children thrive on consistency, but it is often particularly important for children with autism or ADHD, for example. Have a discussion with your ex about routines you should establish across both households. Consider creating routines for discipline, homework, bedtime, and parenting approach.
- Be open to teaching the non-primary caregiver parent: Oftentimes, one parent becomes the point-person for a child with special needs, largely becoming responsible for most of their care. That parent may be concerned that the non-primary caregiver parent cannot keep the child safe and may seek greater custody. However, instead of trying to take more time away from your co-parent, consider sharing tips on how to best care for your child.
- Include a section about special needs in your parenting plan: In your parenting plan, consider including a special needs section that includes things like, education, treatment, diet, household modifications, and long-term care. Achieving an agreement on these issues may take time, but it will ultimately make co-parenting easier.
- If you have other children, remember their needs may be different: In some cases, even the parenting plan may be different for a child with special needs compared to their siblings. Your special needs child may live full-time with one parent while the others go back and forth. It all depends on their needs and what sort of arrangement best meets them.
Child Support Considerations
Another potential hazard in such cases involves child support. Child support payments are often attributed to the child, which can impact or eliminate their ability to receive important government benefits. In many cases, a child with special needs will continue to receive child support after turning 18 and post-majority child support can harm their ability to receive government benefits. A special needs trust can hold assets, preventing your child from becoming disqualified for benefits.
Talk to One of Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys Today!
If you have a child with special needs, the experienced team at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. can assist you with your time-sharing plan. We understand the unique difficulties you may face and will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure your child’s best interests are protected.
Call us today at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a consultation.