Going Through a Divorce when You Have a Child with Special Needs

Divorcing when there is a special needs child involved can be very complicated. Young people with serious disability or medical condition often require extraordinary levels of care and accommodation. Going through the marriage dissolution process is never easy, but if you are responsible for a special needs son or daughter, reaching an appropriate resolution can be even more difficult.

Parenting a child with special needs presents a physical, emotional and financial challenge. Accordingly, several aspects of your divorce will likely be affected because of your child’s condition, including custody, visitation, property division and child support terms. Each case is unique, but considerations that many special needs parents have during the divorce process often include:

  • Daily care — The parties should be mindful that caregiving in a single-parent household will be different than it was in a two-parent household. Spouses might have to arrange for a third party to provide additional care for the child going forward.
  • Rehabilitation expenses — Standard child support formulas typically don’t account for the high costs associated with extraordinary medical care. Parents need to resolve how decisions on rehabilitative care will be made and who will pay for that treatment.
  • Long-term costs — If a son or daughter is not expected to function on their own once they reach adulthood, you should discuss how their financial needs are met after the child support period ends and when you are no longer around.
  • Residential accommodations — Wherever they might be, it is imperative that a special needs child has suitable accommodations. This could mean that a noncustodial parent’s home must be modified so that visitation can occur. Alternatively, arrangements might require that the noncustodial parent spend time with their son or daughter in the custodial parent’s residence. Joint physical custody might be impossible due to the expense.
  • Transportation arrangements — Transportation of a special needs child for shared custody or visitation can get complicated. Parents might need to include divorce terms detailing the use of accessible vehicles and the logistics of shuttling the child between homes on a regular basis.

Each situation is unique so it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced New York lawyer early on so you can determine the best way to take care of your special needs son or daughter as you start a new chapter in your lives.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is the leading Long Island divorce law firm. Our team fights hard to protect your rights and achieve the best outcome. Please contact us online or call 1.631.479.3839 for an initial consultation regarding divorce with a special needs child or any other family law concern.

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