Special Needs Children and Divorce

The end of a marriage is exhausting and often requires considerable effort and planning to make sure a desirable outcome is achieved. This is even more true when custody issues must be resolved. If the child has special needs, the necessary planning for custody and child support can be more complex. Special needs children require specialty medical care, services, equipment, vitamins and other nutritional supplements, and non-prescription treatments that must be considered during the divorce and are not included on traditional child support charts or plans.

A parenting plan that incorporates the schedules of the parents and child for visitation and child care should be implemented. From the outset, it can be helpful for both parents to agree on what the child’s specific disabilities and abilities are. This will form the baseline of what kind of care is necessary and appropriate and can help estimate some of the costs. The parenting plan for a special needs child should be very specific to essential care instructions and provisions for third party care, should one of the parents be unavailable during their allotted time with the child.

Child Support

Child support payments must accommodate the care requirements of the special needs child. Future care needs and costs can be difficult to predict, but managing the care of severely disabled children can negatively impact the earnings potential of the custodial parent and should be considered in the divorce proceedings. Normally, child support ends when a child is no longer a minor, or when they complete their schooling. However, for a special needs child, they may need life-long care and/or co-parenting. Matters of guardianship, independent living, employment, social skills, and recreation should also be addressed in the divorce agreement.

Special needs children are often eligible for public benefits. It is crucial to take this into account when making a child support agreement so as not to disqualify the child’s right to assistance. The services of a knowledgeable lawyer and financial adviser are indispensable in this case. It may be best to establish a special needs trust to avoid direct payments to the custodial parent as many assistance programs have a test to qualify the child.

Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist in Planning for Special Needs Children

Parents of special needs children want to make sure the interests of their child are taken care of during a divorce by consulting an experienced Towson child custody lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our compassionate attorneys can take care of all your family law needs. Call us today at 443-589-0150 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Towson and Hunt Valley, we serve clients throughout Maryland.

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