Going through a divorce while raising a child with special needs can be a real challenge. Since alimony, child custody, and visitation are more complicated in divorce cases that involve special needs children, it is imperative that you make sure your divorce lawyer has a thorough understanding of your child’s needs and what your lifestyle is like with your child. Here are four tips on how to navigate divorce with a special needs child.
1. Consider a Specialized Visitation Schedule
Due to the fact that children with special needs usually require structure and consistency, a regular visitation schedule may not work for your family. You should think about how your child will travel to spend time with both you and your ex-spouse and whether they will need to bring any special equipment with them during their visits. In addition, you may need to ensure your visitation schedule is flexible because of your child’s health issues and their necessity to see familiar medical personnel.
2. Make Sure You Receive Appropriate Alimony
Often times, caring for a special needs child is a full-time job. If you do not work because you provide daily care to your special needs child and manage all of their doctor visits, therapy sessions, and special activities, you should make sure that you receive the appropriate amount of alimony. If you believe that your potential to earn income is compromised because you must care for your child, this should be communicated during all discussions regarding alimony.
3. Design a Parenting Plan
It is likely that you and your ex-spouse view your child’s abilities and disabilities differently. If your spouse is not familiar with what it takes to care for your special needs child on a daily basis, it is a good idea to design a parenting plan to help them out. The parenting plan should contain advice on how to manage their behaviors, administer their medications, understand their preferences if they are nonverbal, and help them adapt to different surroundings.
4. Do Not Forget About Estate Planning
Your divorce agreement should be designed for the long-term. Therefore, you should maximize your estate planning to protect your child’s current and future needs and interests. Any retirement plans, life insurance, or other accounts that designate your child as a beneficiary should be directed to a special needs trust. A special needs trust can accompany government programs to ensure your special needs child has a high quality of life in the future.
Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Attorneys
Divorce with a special needs child involved can be very complicated. For this reason, it is in your best interest to call our DuPage County divorce attorneys at 630-932-9100. We will be sure to take the unique needs of your family in mind when representing you in your divorce.
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