Custody Concerns With Special Needs Children

- Gary E. Williams

If you have a child with special needs, you already understand the dedication, energy and commitment needed to help your child survive, thrive and reach his or her potential. But what do you need to consider when facing a divorce?

In Florida and elsewhere, dealing with custody issues is often the toughest part of any divorce. When your child needs specialized and sometimes expensive care, those issues are even more complicated. In some cases when care is needed beyond the age of 18, Florida law provides for continued financial support by parents.

Consider these points about divorce when you are the parent of a special needs child:

  • Depending on the abilities and age of your child, a parenting plan may be especially demanding. While any child can have difficulties with the transition of divorce, for a child with developmental delays or other concerns, transition may prove a real hardship.
  • When working out time-sharing, listen to therapists and doctors who can advise you about the best way to move through divorce with your child. Give realistic thought to the energy and expense needed to support schooling, therapies, home modifications and other concerns.
  • A good parenting plan recognizes which parent can best support the personal, educational and other needs of a child. If both parents are able and willing to handle the challenge, focus turns to how the family will transform while keeping services and care to your child stable.

Speak with experienced legal counsel to ensure the long-term best interests of your special needs child are served by your parenting plan.