All children have a difficult time when their parents divorce, but the separation of the parents may be particularly challenging if a child has special needs. In addition to their own emotional struggles, parents of children with emotional, physical or intellectual disabilities will have to make financial and legal adjustments to provide appropriate care and accommodations.
At the Law Offices of Kelley A. Joseph, we understand the specific challenges divorcing parents face when their children need special care and education. In some cases, early court intervention is necessary to make certain that the care of a child with special needs isn't disrupted. In other cases, parents are able to develop an effective custody plan outside of court. Either way, it is a good idea to have a legal advocate on your side to protect your rights and the rights of your child.
While Florida's child support guidelines provide a way of calculating a baseline amount, a higher monthly payment may be necessary to cover the therapy and medical care of a child with special needs. These cases often involve parents who have stayed home to care for a child while the other parent worked, and a longer duration of spousal support may be necessary for the parent who is returning to the workforce or starting work for the first time.
Providing for a child's special needs can also affect the division of marital property in a very specific way. For example, if the family home was remodeled to provide accommodations, then the division of property should reflect those changes while continuing to meet the needs of the child.
Understandably, these matters can seem overwhelming to parents who are struggling with their own divorce issues. To learn about your rights and obligations as a parent, please visit our other pages on co-parenting, property division and child support.