Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Divorce can be stressful for the children involved, but this is especially true when the children have special needs. While all divorcing parents must find a way to put their children’s needs ahead of any animosity toward their ex-spouse, parents of children with special needs have an even more pronounced obligation to be open to working together for the good of their special needs child.

Experts often advise divorcing parents to focus on what is best for their children when making childrearing decisions. This advice is the perfect starting point for any co-parenting arrangement, but a divorcing couple with a special needs child has additional requirements for cooperation as well.

Create a Parenting Plan

A clear parenting plan provides a list of agreed-upon priorities for both parents to use as a guide to keep them on track to provide their children the best care possible. Parenting plans should include a list of your parenting goals, such as supporting your child’s efforts in school, recreational activities, and social engagements.

As parents of a special needs child, your parenting plan should address such issues as education, diet, and medical or behavioral treatment plans, including therapy appointments and home modifications to accommodate your child’s needs. The plan should address these immediate needs, as well as a long-term care plan for your child’s future.

Strive for Consistency

Children with ADHD, Autism, or anxiety disorders often find comfort in consistency. Divorce upends a lot of the consistency in a child’s life, so it is important to create stability where you can. Routines help and having a consistent schedule for morning, bedtime, and homework routines can provide a sense of comfort. Discipline and other parenting approaches should also be streamlined where possible. A professional can help determine what concessions should be made by both parents to help them stay focused on the outcomes most beneficial to their child.

Share Tips and Work Together

In many families, one parent acts as the primary caregiver. That can work when the marriage is intact, but when the family is split between two homes, the primary caregiver parent should be willing to work with the ex-spouse to make the child’s life comfortable in the secondary home. While it may make sense for the primary caregiver to request a larger share of custody, it can still help to provide helpful advice for the times when the other parent has the child.

Child Support

Raising children is expensive. The added costs of accommodating a child with special needs can become overwhelming if the costs are not shared. The child support arrangement should address the added costs of your child’s special care.

Somerville Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Arrange Support for Special Needs Children

In families of divorce, parenting responsibilities are usually a major ongoing concern. Divorcing parents have additional concerns when it comes to caring for a child with special needs. The Somerville child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. help families figure out the best way to work together to support the needs of their children by working out a feasible parenting plan and a fair child support arrangement. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.