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Divorce Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children

Child custody arrangements are generally one of the most challenging aspects of divorces that involve shared children. If you have a child with special needs, however, the matter is that much more difficult. Fortunately, there are several tips that can help you navigate your way forward with your parental rights and your child’s best interests upheld. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, it’s time to consult with a compassionate Illinois divorce attorney

Clearly Assess Your Situation 

If you have a child with special needs that requires a significant amount of specialized care that your divorcing spouse can’t adequately address for one reason or another, it’s important to recognize this fact and make it clear to the court. For example, if you left your career to provide your child with the specialized care they need around the clock and your divorcing spouse has a job that requires them to travel much of the time, your parenting time schedule and your parental responsibilities will need to reflect this reality. 

If, on the other hand, you and your divorcing spouse are both perfectly capable of addressing your child’s special needs on a daily basis, it’s unlikely that special accommodations will need to be made in regard to your child custody arrangements. 

Child Support Will Need to Be Calculated Accordingly

Child support is intended to cover your children’s daily needs, but if you have a child with special needs, you can expect these expenses to be higher than the court’s general calculation methodology accounts for. Addressing this ahead of time – rather than after the fact – is always the best policy.

You’ll Likely Experience More Considerable Child-Related Expenses

Parents are financially responsible for costs that go well beyond child support, which can include all the following:

  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Travel
  • Medication, vitamins, and therapies
  • School supplies
  • Personal electronics
  • Aids
  • Uniforms and fees
  • Before and after school care or interventions

If you have a child with special needs, you may face additional expenses such as medical supplies, adaptive devices, occupational therapy, physical therapy, specialized educational programs, clinical support, and beyond. Having a trusted divorce attorney with significant experience regarding the financial needs associated with supporting a child with special needs in the long term will help to ensure that your child’s financial needs are well accounted for. 

Address the Matter of a Special Needs Trust

As time passes, your child may become eligible for social security disability benefits, and in order to protect their eligibility, you may need to create a special needs trust. This trust can hold income, inheritances, and funds for your child’s education without affecting their eligibility for benefits that flow from the government. 

An Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney Is Standing By to Help

The distinguished Illinois divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, have a thorough understanding of the challenges associated with obtaining divorce terms that protect your ability to protect your child with special needs, and we have the legal skill, experience, and focus to help. For more information, please don’t wait to contact us today.

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