Going through divorce demands resilience – and when you are a parent of a child with special needs, that resilience can be tested by the many complex issues that will affect your divorce proceedings.
Some issues are obvious – the additional expenses of therapies, child/respite care, medical costs, custody arrangements, and consistency of schedules. But many other considerations are frequently overlooked, and without specific attention, can quickly complicate and jeopardize a child’s adult supports.
Most typical joint parenting agreements are structured for typically developing children and end when a child reaches age 18 or finishes college. Divorcing parents of children with special needs face the reality of life-long caregiving and perhaps, co-parenting. For children with disabilities, reaching age 18 triggers several important milestones for future support planning. Without a plan memorialized by the marital settlement agreement, parents will miss critical deadlines and face additional conflict with their former spouse.
Parents and divorce attorneys alike retain our team to guide them through the issues they face, such as:
- Will / should child support continue beyond the age of adulthood? If so, how will child support be addressed so it does not jeopardize the child’s supplemental security income benefits?
- Will the custodial parent be able to work and care for the child? If not, should maintenance reflect the inability to work or work less than full time?
- Whose health insurance will cover the child after adulthood? After age 26?
- Does the child require a guardian, and if so, will both parents be guardians?
- How will each parent plan financially for the child’s long-term future? Will they plan together or separately? Are their approaches coordinated to maximize resources, or could they undermine resources for the child?
Our team can help you and your divorce attorney identify the issues that apply to your case and build a strategy to protect your child, maximize resources and avoid returning to court to address predictable issues.