One of the first thoughts that runs through your mind during your divorce is how the divorce will affect your children. You want to know if they will be upset, if your relationship with them will stay the same, and if you will still be able to see them when you want.
If you are a parent of a special needs child, these concerns are magnified. Divorce issues, like child custody and child support, become more complex when the child involved has special needs.
For example, many child custody arrangements opt to allow parents alternating weekend or mid-week visits with their children.
However, for a child with special needs or conditions, such as autism, this type of arrangement could be problematic. Consistent disruptions in routines could cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for the child—and for the parent as a result. If this is the case, longer stretches of time with each parent may be in your child’s best interests.
The custody arrangements made should also take into account your child’s educational, social, therapeutic, and recreational opportunities and needs. This is particularly important if you and your spouse will be living in different cities, where the opportunities for children with special needs may not be equal.
Child custody and support arrangements may be further complicated by any treatment and/or care your child requires. Many special needs and medical conditions require more frequent medical visits, which result in greater expense. This makes it critical that you include in your Charleston divorce a clear statement that spells out which parent has the final say in educational and medical decisions (or, if both of you will have this right, how to come to a decision when you disagree) and how much each parent will pay for educational, medical, and treatment costs.
Depending on the severity of your child’s special needs, your divorce agreement may also need to factor in support into adulthood for your daughter or son.
Because divorce is more complex when a child with a disability is involved, it’s essential to speak with qualified professionals, including a Charleston, SC divorce lawyer, during the process. Please feel free to call The Peck Law Firm with any questions you may have regarding your Charleston divorce or parenting plan for your special needs child.