Couples with special needs children have a higher rate of divorce than couples with typically developing children. Social scientists proffer many reasons for the higher rate of divorce, including the many time and money pressures that parents of special needs children face.
But how can parents who are getting divorced protect their child during the divorce process? Here are just a few tips:
- Custody and Parenting Time: Seek a custody and parenting time arrangement that fits your child’s specific needs. For example, if your child has trouble with transitions, choose a parenting time schedule with larger chunks of time with each parent and less transitions. If your child requires attendance at a specific school, therapist, or other professional, then fashion parenting time and transportation around making sure those needs are met.
- Child Support: In New Jersey, child support is usually governed by the Child Support Guidelines, and in most cases, the Court uses a standard formula to calculate support. But your lawyer can ask the Court to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines to award more money if the need is shown. You also can ask the Court to have the support Order include the costs of therapies and other additional expenses that typically developing children may not need as much.
- Planning for the Future: Speak with your attorney about possibly setting up a special needs trust, or other legal instruments, to address long-term needs for your child so that when your child reaches young adulthood, he or she can qualify for as many programs as possible.
Contact the New Jersey Family Law Firm of Lyons & Associates
If you or someone you know has a special needs child and is contemplating divorce, then call one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777. Call Lyons & Associates for a consultation today at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.
Written By: Theresa A. Lyons