As someone who is working through a divorce and is also the parent of a child with special needs, you may have additional matters to work through as you disentangle your life from your ex’s and plan for your child’s future. Even if you and your former partner had some plans in place with regard to providing for your child down the line, you may need to revisit those plans once you decide to part ways.
Just what types of matters might you need to address during divorce as the parent of a child with special needs?
Long-term care costs
Depending on the type of disability your son or daughter has, caring for him or her over a lifetime could potentially cost more than $1 million. How do you and your former spouse plan to finance that care and make the most of your legacy for the sake of your shared child? Are you both going to be equally responsible for paying for care? Are you going to create a special needs trust? These are the things you should work through now, while your divorce is ongoing, to avoid unnecessary strife down the line.
Parenting plan considerations
Many divorcing parents find that creating parenting plans helps them avoid conflicts and stay on the same track with regard to parenting. A parenting plan may prove even more critical, however, if you are co-parenting a special needs child. In addition to hashing out custody and visitation arrangements, if applicable, you may also have to consider factors such as how the child is going to get from home to home. You may also have to think about each parent’s responsibilities with regard to special dietary considerations, mobility, communicative devices and so on.
When you share a child with someone and make the decision to co-parent, you typically have to continue to work with your ex until your child becomes an adult. As the parent of a child with a disability, though, you may need to work together well into your child’s adulthood. Having a set plan in place may help you do so with minimal hardship.