How Does Having a Disabled Child Impact Your Divorce?
Having a disabled child can raise issues in your divorce proceedings that you normally would not encounter. Depending on the severity of your child’s disability and the amount of care that the child requires, you and your spouse may need to consider a wide variety of issues that may not arise with non-disabled children. From visitation agreements to decisions about medical care and education, divorcing parents with a disabled child are likely to have unique problems to resolve in their divorce.
Visitation and the Disabled Child
In a typical divorce involving children, one parent often has primary custody of the children, and the other parent often has alternating weekend visitation, as well as time periods during the summer and winter vacations from school. For a special needs child, however, frequently alternating between his or her parents’ houses can become very stressful. For instance, an autistic child may experience significant anxiety and stress as a result of any disruption to his or her daily routine. In this case, parents need to work together as closely as possible in order to reach a visitation schedule that is best not for the parents, but for their child. If parents cannot agree on the best way to parent their special needs child, then they should strongly consider working with professionals who can help advise them as to the best parenting plan for their child.
Financial Considerations for your Special Needs Child
Some disabled children may require specialized or ongoing medical care that can result in extraordinary medical expenses. Divorcing parents should be sure to allocate responsibility for any extraordinary medical expenses in their divorce decree, as well as ongoing medical expenses. Likewise, parents must be cognizant of the fact that a child may be entitled to continued child support beyond the normal age of majority so long as he or she remains disabled. Florida law provides that child support orders can extend beyond the age of majority if the child is dependent on the parents due to a physical or mental incapacity that began before the child’s 18th birthday. As a result, parents should be prepared to provide financial support for their child beyond his or her minority, and perhaps for the child’s entire life.
Helping You Work Toward a Resolution of Your Divorce
Raising a disabled child is a difficult task, but it can become much more complicated when you get divorced. It is in these situations that an experienced Florida divorce attorney can be most helpful to you. When you are experiencing the emotions and stress that tends to accompany the demise of a marriage, it may be difficult to make the right decisions about your children and other extremely important matters. We are here to help you with these types of issues and guide you through the critical decision-making process involved in a divorce. Contact Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC in Fort Lauderdale today, and let us work with you to reach an acceptable resolution with respect to all aspects of your divorce proceedings.