Divorce and Special Needs Children

When a divorce involves a child with special needs, parents and attorneys should focus on clear resolutions of these critical issues:
  • Visitation/Access agreements
  • Transition between homes
  • Healthcare and medical needs, including therapy, equipment, and non-prescription treatments and nutritional needs
  • Respite care for the custodial parent
  • Educational decision-making and involvement
  • Social and recreational opportunities for the child
  • Estate planning and the child’s transition into adulthood including guardianship, employment, independent living and custodial care, if necessary
  • Child support
Every divorce case is different and every child with special needs is unique.

It is essential that that you hire an attorney with in-depth knowledge and experience in assisting families with special needs children.

At Melone Hatley , we can assist you in understanding and navigating your options and retaining the appropriate professionals and specialists who are necessary during litigation or mediation.

We will help you structure a parenting plan and divorce agreement that always centers on the best interests of the child and spells out information and instructions that address today’s issues, as well as those that extend beyond childhood into the future.

Special needs children with severe impairments face life-long care and support.  Our goal is to identify and understand how to determine the special needs child’s best interest.

  • Which parent is best prepared to handle the child’s educational and medical needs?
  • How much contact/access/visitation will the non-custodial parent or other parties be allowed or required to have?
  • How will the divorce agreement affect each parent’s right to make decisions about their child’s future?
  • Who is prepared to be the custodial parent?
  • Will both homes be able to meet the child’s unique needs?
  • To whom and by whom will child support be paid and in what amount?
  • How long will child support last?

A family law attorney with experience in special needs children

Children with special needs are often very vulnerable to negative consequences when their parents are going through divorce. When the standard judgments, parenting plans, child support, and settlement agreements are used without consideration being given to the unique issues of the special needs child and his or her specific needs, these children can suffer.

Family lawyers need to consider the special needs issues when resolving both custody and financial issues.


© Melone Hatley, P.C.