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Special Needs Children in a Divorce

Posted by Chris Peterson | Apr 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

Special Needs Children in a Divorce

Special Needs Children in a DivorceDivorce is stressful for any child, but one with special needs requires extra understanding and compassion. The Texas Family Code has provisions for special needs children, for it is recognized that different types of solutions are required in divorces of this kind. A Bryan family lawyer will work to make sure that your special needs child's interests are considered in the divorce decree.

Challenges Parents Face

When parents of a special needs child divorce, they face unique challenges. The usual sort of divorce decree is not designed to address issues that arise with challenged children. It is very important for special needs children to have a routine they can depend upon, and divorce can completely disrupt this. It is very important to design the parenting plan with this in mind, as well as for parents to try extra hard to cooperate with each other. The more the child sees the parents making decisions in harmony, the easier it will be on the child.

One matter that must be handled with care is that of blame. Marriage can be challenging, and children add extra challenges. A special needs child can prove more than parents feel adequate to handle, and the result sometimes is divorce. Even if they are, to some extent, a reason for the divorce, it is important that special needs children not be made to feel they are to blame.

Developing a Parenting Plan

When divorcing parents with a special needs child develop their parenting plan, they need to consider the following:

  • Ways to resolve differences in a low-key, amicable way
  • Coming to an agreement on such matters as healthcare, treatment plans, and education
  • Developing a plan that both parents follow to ensure a routine with which the child can feel comfortable
  • What to do about treatments that are not covered by insurance
  • After-school care
  • The custodial parent's ability to work outside the home
  • Care of the child beyond minority status

Parents should keep in mind that it is often not workable to maintain shared custody when a special needs child is involved.

Adult Special Needs Children

Many special needs children require care for the rest of their lives. Divorcing parents need to make decisions as to how the child will be supported after he or she reaches age 18. Child support orders generally do not extend into adulthood. In addition, special needs adults often depend on Medicare to pay for their medical costs, which can be many. If a parent continues to pay support, this can jeopardize Medicare benefits. It may be necessary to establish a special needs trust. Finally, a guardian will likely need to be appointed, so the parents need to address who will be best suited for this duty.

Work with an Attorney if You Have a Special Needs Child

It is very important for anyone seeking a divorce to work with a Bryan family attorney. This is especially the case when a special needs child is involved. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.

About the Author

Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is the owner of Peterson Law Group. He practices primarily in the areas of wills, trusts and estate planning; probate and trust administration; elder law; and business law. Chris is also the owner of Brazos 1031 Exchange Company.


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