When children with special needs are involved in a divorce, the court will pay extra attention to their care. The court will help ensure their needs are fulfilled.
It will be important to determine:
- Which parent will have primary custody.
- The child’s daily needs.
- Special medical care and services that might be required.
- Support equipment.
A child with special needs might need a variety of ongoing support that could change over time. Those special needs might accompany the child throughout adulthood. A court always places an emphasis on ensuring the needs of any children are met.
Because a child with special needs will likely need assistance throughout adulthood, it is very important for both parents to plan ahead. A financial professional could help provide divorcing parents with a realistic estimate of the annual costs and cumulative totals for the child’s lifetime. With a realistic estimate of costs, it will be possible for the divorcing parents and the court to determine how to ensure their special needs are met.
Additionally, life insurance policies on the parents could help provide funding. If one parent is the primary earner but dies unexpectedly, their life insurance policy could fund the costs of providing for the child.
Parents could list a trust as the beneficiary on 401(k) accounts and other retirement assets. Such benefits will help pay for ongoing care.
Custody and Visitation
As with any other divorce that involves children, the parents will have to determine custody and visitation schedules. One parent might have primary custody while the other has visitation. The court will consider what is best for the child and which parent is best situated to provide daily care.
If one divorcing parent is a primary earner and the other stays at home, odds are the parent who is at home will have custody. In most circumstances, the other parent likely will have visitation rights and a schedule that enables the child to stay with that parent on a regular basis.
When a child has special needs, a traditional custody and visitation schedule might be impossible. Many children with special needs require routine and familiar surroundings, which rules out leaving their primary home to spend time in another one for even a weekend.
Ultimately, the court will focus on what is best for the child and rule accordingly. If other children are involved who do not have special needs, the court will also consider what is best for them too.
The divorce will have to include a viable parenting plan. The parenting plan will help regulate the daily requirements that are necessary to ensure the child is fully supported. For example, the child might have prescription medications. The parenting plan will need to ensure the medication schedules are met to keep the child in the best health.
Additionally, the divorcing parents will need healthy communication. Because children with special needs often require extra care, the parents need to have a good relationship.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Will Ensure Your Children Are Protected in Divorce
If you are considering a divorce and you have a child with special needs, reach out to one of our Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.