Navigating divorce when your child has special needs

Making child custody-related decisions is often difficult, but it may prove to be even more so when the child you and your ex share has special needs. While some families might have to develop arrangements that pertain to a child until he or she turns 18, parents of kids with disabilities may need to make plans that cover a child’s entire lifetime.

According to Today, you may need to consider the following when it comes to divorcing and determining custody over your child with a disability.

Unconventional custody and visitation agreements

The type of disability your child has should dictate your custody and visitation arrangements at least to some degree. Some children with disabilities do better when they have structure and consistency in their schedules, so a typical “two weeks here, two weeks there” arrangement may not work well.

Similarly, some kids with special needs require specialized transportation to move from one parent’s home to the other. This is also something you should also discuss when determining child custody arrangements.

Financial planning for your child’s future

Your child may well outlive you, and you and your ex may need to work through certain matters pertaining to how you plan to finance any care your child requires once his or her parents are no longer able to provide it. Are you going to create a special needs trust? Do you have concerns about your child being able to maintain eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income? The more you plan ahead in these areas, the better off your entire family may be.

Creating a thorough and detailed parenting plan may help you and your ex come to mutual agreements with regard to how to share custody and co-parent your child with special needs.