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Special needs children and divorce: A challenging intersection

Parenting a special needs child isn’t easy, even in the best of circumstances. The scope of the child’s needs can directly impact the difficulty of the parenting situation. For parents who are going through a divorce, making plans for child custody of a special needs child can be a real challenge.

There are several things that must be considered in these cases. First, you need to determine what is realistic. If the child requires considerable equipment to function on a daily basis, having him or her go from Mom’s house to Dad’s home might not be possible. The logistics of transportation alone might be very difficult. Instead, you might need to use the bird’s nest style of parenting.

In this parenting arrangement, the child remains in one home while the parents take turns staying with the child. This can be a challenge for you and your ex to make work, but it might be the best option for the current situation. It can mean sharing the bills at the central home and each having your own place away from that home. Figuring out the parenting plan and schedule can be a real challenge in these cases.

The second consideration that is universal for these cases is finances. Special needs children often have considerable medical expenses. Covering the uninsured costs might need to be split between the parents. Having this covered in the final order might help here.

Finally, a third point to consider is the educational needs of the child. This can be hard to make decisions about, but it might be best if one parent takes the lead in this area. Of course, both parents can discuss the important matters, but it is imperative that the child has consistency.


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