Obtaining a divorce is complicated enough, but if you have children, it becomes more difficult. And, if one of those children has special needs, the challenges rise to an entirely different level. Parents have more difficulty establishing a parenting plan, it becomes much harder determining who will be the primary caregiver to their child because it becomes an issue of life long medical needs, personal care, special schooling with tutoring, all with high expenses. Have a Family Law attorney help establish a child custody agreement, this is favored because a judge doesn’t know more than the parents themselves about the child’s needs and what would be in their best interest. By having this prior it ensure that your child will have an easier transition as the divorce process continues.
It is important, for you as the custodial parent, to work together with your ex-spouse to minimize the damage that can affect your child. Review your parenting plan or visitation schedule carefully because it may not work for a child with emotional issues. For example, a special needs child often finds it difficult to deal with change, such as overnight stays in a new environment. They may not understand that they will see the other parent again.
Putting a child in the middle of parental tension is never a good thing and it’s particularly bad to do this with a child who may not fully understand what is happening. Think of the damage you can do to your child. Is playing games with your ex worth that?
Parents often don’t agree on certain issues when it comes to caring and raising their child, especially when it comes to medical care. Parents must prioritize and make sure they can agree on the most important medical issues and maybe give a little on optional matters of less importance.
In addition, child support will probably be an issue. The court may go beyond the standard child support guidelines and order that child support be paid into the child’s adulthood and include:
- physical, occupational and speech therapy
- special schools
It is important for your child to understand the changes going on around his or her life.
Some tips include:
- Using a special calendar to highlight the days that he or she will spend with the other parent
- Encourage daily communication whenever possible with the other parent
- Explore technologies such as speed dial to make it easy for your child to call his or her other parent
- Make sure your ex attends all birthdays and holiday celebrations
There is no doubt divorce affects the lives of children. With very few exceptions, divorcing couples with the help of their attorneys can and should agree on the issues of custody and visitation.
Contact the Family Law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke and let us help you arrive at a plan that works for everyone in your family. We have offices in Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties for your convenience. Click here for all contact information.