Going through a divorce is already hard enough, but having a special needs child who has to go through it with you is even harder than you could imagine. There’ll be several issues and considerations you need to carefully negotiate with your ex-partners, such as visitation, support, and child custody. Of course, you all have to go through an emotional and psychological ordeal as the negotiation progresses.
Caught Between Divorce And A Special Needs Child
While divorces typically involve talking about issues concerning children, there are far more matters that you should discuss if you have a special needs child. Challenges surrounding lifelong expenses and care could undoubtedly add to the stress and even disagreements between divorcing parents.
For such reasons, it’s recommended that you hire not just a regular divorce lawyer but someone who knows about handling special needs legal advice and future planning, such as the Vahey & Betouni family law attorneys. With a competent lawyer by your side, rest assured that your special needs child’s interests, future, and welfare will be prioritized.
Additionally, you should be aware of how you can further support and help your child moving forward. Take a look at some of the ways you may be able to do just that:
Be Involved When Making Crucial Decisions
Whether or not you get custody of your child, you remain their parent, and that’s something no law can ever change. As your kid grows, there’ll be several decisions that need to be discussed and made. For one, how will their education process continue? Will any changes could significantly affect how the child learns and develops their skills?
Then there are medical decisions to think about. Who’ll be paying for the treatments and therapies that your special needs child has to get every month or so? There should also be a stipulation that even if one of the parents decides to remarry, their responsibility to the child carries on.
Maximize Government Benefits
Depending on where you live, there are government benefits you can get for your special needs child. Social security benefits, for one, are given to children with disabilities who are below 18 years old. Ask your lawyer about such benefits and how your child can be eligible so you can maximize the public help that the government is extending to special cases like yours.
Now more than ever, the future and medical welfare of your child should be the topmost priority. Because of their circumstances, the need for health insurance can’t be stressed enough. Keep in mind that caring and supporting a special needs child doesn’t end when they reach the age of 18 or when they go to college. It’s a lifelong commitment, and you must be prepared for it.
Moreover, life insurance can secure your child’s future even if something unexpected or unfortunate happens to you or the other parent.
Share Caregiving Custody Responsibilities
As mentioned, caring for a child with special needs goes way beyond their legal age. Try your best to work out the best caregiving setup for both you and your ex-partner. If one is awarded custody, arrange for visitation stipulation right away. Your child needs to feel that you’ll still be there for them even when you’re no longer living under one roof.
In most cases, mothers are given custody of a special needs child, but that’s not the case all the time. No matter who gets the custody, both parents need to thoughtfully lay out how they’ll be dividing the responsibilities.
Do Not Forget Child Support
As your special needs child will require special diets and other necessities, child support should be carefully discussed. Child support will pay for everything, including their food, education, school supplies, medical appointments, transportation, and summer vacation and camps.
If your child requires special classes to improve their condition, those should be accounted for just the same. Also, since caring for a special needs child involves providing 24/7 attention, consider hiring an in-home caregiver or babysitter who’ll look after the child’s welfare while the custodial parent works. This is unless, of course, if you both decide that one of you will be resigning from work to focus full-time on your child.
Don’t let your divorce stand in the way of giving your special needs child the care and support they need. Get in touch with a family lawyer to learn more about your rights and what needs to be done so you can secure the future and welfare of your child.