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When Parents of Special Needs Children Divorce

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When a married couple chooses to end their relationship, there are often a wide range of considerations which must be taken into account in order for the separation to be effectively completed. This is particularly true for married couples with children, and especially so for parents of special needs children. Because of the substantial amount of care that many special needs children require, divorce settlements between parents of special needs children must be far more carefully managed than others.

Depending on the nature of the divorcing couple’s relationship, the complexity involved in crafting a divorce settlement can be great. The challenge lie in adequately meeting the needs of both partners while ensuring that the needs of the child are fully satisfied, as well.

In some situations, the divorce settlement can be reached by agreement between the two parties, with minimal negotiation necessary. In other cases, however, disagreement between the two sides can require substantial legal intervention. In order to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome, it is important to keep all of the most important aspects of a divorce with special needs children in mind. These include:

 Visitation agreements: depending on the nature of your child’s needs, it may be necessary to come up with a visitation agreement that is substantially more flexible than would be common in other divorce agreements.
 Child support: the parent providing child support to the parent who gains primary custody of the child may have to pay a substantially greater amount in child support to ensure that all the needs of their child is fully be met.
 Parental rights: because of the considerable amount of input that both parents will typically have in various elements of the life of a child with special needs -- including education, religious upbringing, and medical care -- it is important that both parents agree to and understand their specific parental rights.

Ensuring that these and other elements relating to a divorce are appropriately settled for all involved can be more easily done when the assistance of an experienced Child-Centered Divorce lawyer or mediator is involved. A divorce professional who has handled others cases of a similar nature can better help to navigate these and other issues while keeping the needs of all involved parties in mind.

Special needs children have even more special needs when divorce affects the family. Be sure that every decision reflects these needs for long-term parenting success.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, her blog, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com

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