When parents of a special needs child decide to divorce, issues of child custody, support, visitation, and property divisions become significantly more complicated to negotiate. But in addition to the legal aspect of it, parents must make sure that the health and well-being of the special needs child remains a priority throughout the proceedings.
At Davis Law Group, we recognize that a child’s special needs can take up every aspect of their custodial parent’s or primary caregiver’s life. We also understand the child’s resulting need for additional therapy, medical care, special education, and other potentially expensive requirements, which may extend into adulthood.
Prominent family law attorney Jay Davis has represented parents all across Massachusetts, so he knows that a child’s special needs can sometimes lead to increased conflict during a divorce. Our caring legal team at Davis Law Group will work diligently to keep the conflict between you and your ex at a minimum, and help you reach fair resolutions. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 617-221-3548 or write to us online.
Special Considerations for a Divorce with Special Needs Children in Massachusetts
It’s not fair, but child support charts do not address the additional costs that come with taking care of a special needs child. They need specialty medical care, equipment, non-prescription treatments, nutritional care, and more. And with divorce in the equation, uncertainty about the cost and nature of future care makes it challenging to determine disability-related expenses.
That being said, here are a few things that must be addressed during divorce with special needs children:
Guardianship: The roles of parents in the special-needs child’s life remain significant even after the child turns 18. This means the parents need to agree on who will have the authority to make decisions involving the child if they are unable to make such decisions on their own.
Parents should also nominate guardians in their wills who will be responsible for caring for the child in case either or both of them pass away.
Child Care Needs: What will happen when the parent with primary physical custody needs a break or has an appointment? How will that parent be supported? Will they need to take care of the child full time?
If you have a child with special needs and are considering a divorce, contact Davis Law Group in Massachusetts today. Jay Davis is a veteran divorce attorney, but he is also a parent, so we understand the unique factors that must be addressed to ensure your divorce agreement has your special-needs child’s best interests at heart. Please call us today at 617-221-3548 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you and your little one.
Routine: Most children spend weekends with one parent and weekdays with another. If the child has Down syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, autism, or any other condition, these transitions are extremely difficult. The change in location and routine can be distressing for them, so much so that they could fall ill. Consider how visitation could be arranged to best adjust to the child’s needs.
Equipment: If the child has special transportation needs or needs a lot of medical equipment, visitation can be even more difficult. You have to think about things like will the child have special equipment (like a walker) at each parent’s house? Can the vehicle be shared so it’s used by the parent who is transporting the kid?
These matters must be settled when you are negotiating the physical custody and visitation schedules.
Financial Needs: Does your child require occupational therapy or physical therapy? Do they need to take special medications or special equipment? It’s important to make sure treatments and care costs are covered and that benefits continue after divorce.
If caring for the child is a full-time job for the primary custody parent, alimony payments may reflect this. In some cases, child support payments may also continue past the age of 18, when they generally cut off.
Healthcare Needs: Which parent will cover the cost of transportation? Who will take the child to appointments? Who will pay the costs of medical care that are not covered by the insurance company?
Caring for a special needs child usually involves specific dietary requirements, particular medications, and regular medical care. Whatever the special needs are, both parents and their attorneys must be able to handle them. As part of your divorce settlement, the final order must address the daily care your child requires.
Get the Best Legal Advice About Divorce in MA When You Have Children With Special Needs
Your special needs child is going to need special attention during and after the divorce process. As a family law firm, Davis Law Group is dedicated to the protection and welfare of children. All kids deserve to grow up loved, happy, and healthy. Our leading attorney Jay Davis does not stand for legal tactics that he believes will be damaging to any child involved.
If you have any questions or would like to arrange a free consultation with Jay, please give us a call at 617-221-3548 or fill out our online form here.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548