Whether your child has learning disabilities, developmental challenges or a medical condition, caring for a special needs child can be challenging for any parent. And when a parent of a special needs child faces divorce, the challenges can mount significantly. Divorcing parents with special needs children are under unique pressures. Not only do they have to decide on custody and parenting time, but they also have to decide how to share the financial responsibilities of caring for a special needs child as well. When combined, these difficulties require special considerations and careful planning. Here are four tips to help you do just that.
Work With a Parenting Coordinator
Custody and parenting time are particularly sensitive issues when it comes to caring for special needs children. Custody and parenting time agreements should meet a child’s needs, but template agreements are not one size fits all. You face unique challenges and may need the help of a specialist who can help you tailor an agreement that is in your child’s best interests.
Hire an Attorney
Generally speaking, it may be preferable to reach agreements on parenting matters with your spouse rather than have a judge decide. Judges aren’t familiar with each family on a personal basis and aren’t equipped to make individualized decisions. But to ensure your agreement is legally sound and protects your rights, you need to work with a New Jersey child custody attorney. A parenting coordinator can help you figure out solutions to your particular problems, but you’ll need an attorney to ensure those solutions lie within the parameters of the law and do not leave room for future conflict.
Consider Special Provisions in Your Parenting Plan
A New Jersey parenting plan can include many provisions that provide guidelines for each parent. Try to look ahead and anticipate what you may need to put in place to forestall future conflict. For example, if you know your child’s medical bills vary significantly throughout the year, consider including a provision for how to split those costs. Or, address your child’s education, which could be individualized and require input from both parents. Work with an attorney to make sure your parenting plan is flexible, so you don’t have to return to court.
Keep It Amicable
Any child can struggle to cope with the conflict in divorce, particularly a special needs child. Work with your spouse to avoid a bitter courtroom drama and consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, instead. Litigation can rob you of your time, which can adversely affect your special needs child. Focus on getting through your divorce with a healthy co-parenting relationship in tack. Realize you may have to compromise on some things to reach this end goal, but it’s for the good of your child.
Are you a New Jersey parent seeking custody? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled child custody attorneys can help you navigate your custody case, defending your rights every step of the way. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.