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What are some considerations for special needs and custody?

Adults who have children have to think about the children if they opt to get a divorce. Coming to an agreement about child custody matters is difficult in almost every case. However, things are even more difficult when the child that the adults are planning for has special needs.

Why is it more difficult to come to a child custody agreement when a child has special needs?

A special needs child has requirements that are unique to that child. There isn’t any one-size-fits-all template that parents can use to try to determine child custody issues. Doctor appointments, medical equipment and similar factors might all come into the picture when the parents are trying to determine a child custody schedule.

In some cases, one parent might even deny that the child has special needs. That can further complicate an already difficult matter, especially when that parent isn’t willing to make concessions in the child custody matters.

What are the considerations that must factored into a decision?

There are four critical issues that have to be taken into account. Social and recreational opportunities, visitation and transition between homes, health and medical care and education decisions. All of these can have significant impacts on the way that child custody is handled. For example, if the parents don’t live near each other, it might be difficult for them to transport the child between homes often or for short periods of time. That might make the every-other-weekend visitation arrangement that is fairly common difficult.

Putting your child’s needs first is imperative in all child custody matters. Knowing how you can address issues that come up with a special needs child can help you make decisions throughout the custody case.

Source: American Bar Association, “When Parents of Children with Disabilities Divorce,” Barbara Epperson, accessed July 17, 2016

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