Special-Needs Children And Divorce

One of the primary considerations when a marriage is dissolved is the care of any children that might be living at home, and nowhere is this truer than when a divorce affects a child with special needs. Regardless of the changed relationship between his or her parents, a special-needs child may have financial, health and care-giving needs that continue for a lifetime.

Debra J. Braselton, founding attorney of the Law Firm of Debra J. Braselton, P.C., brings a unique perspective to divorces involving the parenting of children with special needs. Her nursing education and experience afford Debra the ability to understand the medical, emotional and financial issues facing divorcing parents of a child with special needs.

Parenting Plans And Special-Needs Children

The allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for a child with special needs is based upon an assessment of the child's unique developmental, physical and mental needs. For example, if parents share the rights and responsibilities jointly, but frequent changes are disruptive to the child, innovative approaches to allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for special needs children may be sought.

Parents of children with special needs often retain legal decision-making authority over them far past the age of 18. A co-parenting plan developed for a child with special needs must evolve and change as the child grows older.

How Can I Provide Financial Support To My Child With Special Needs?

Financial support, including child support payments, to minor children with special needs must take into consideration a host of factors not normally present with other children such as:

  • Medical care relevant to their conditions
  • Physical, psychological or occupational therapy services
  • Specialized medical equipment
  • The cost of meeting the child's individualized nutritional needs
  • Paid respite care for the parent with most of the parental rights and responsibilities

Although new child support guidelines went into effect in 2017, judges can deviate from the statutory guidelines and order additional support when circumstances require it. Although child support ends when the child turns 18 and graduates from high school, child support can be extended past that time for a child with special needs.

Let Us Help You Navigate Your Specific Divorce Challenges

Trust our lawyer's background and experience in health-related matters as you consider your child's special needs. Our firm is based in Oakbrook Terrace and we serve clients in DuPage County and the surrounding area, including Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Lisle, Elmhurst and Naperville. Call us at 630-DIVORCE or 630-261-1222 or use our online contact form to set up an initial consultation.