Divorce Considerations for Parents of Children With Special Needs

Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyDivorce is a difficult experience for all children, but for children with special needs, it can be especially challenging to adjust to the major changes that a divorce brings. Parents of children with special needs also face many challenges during the divorce process, including figuring out how to ensure that the divorce resolution protects their child’s interests and provides for their needs. If you are going through a divorce, you should carefully consider all of the following with respect to your child.

Addressing a Child’s Special Needs in the Parenting Plan

Ideally, both parents would continue to be committed to supporting their child and addressing their special needs even after a divorce, but unfortunately this is not always the case. If you have taken on the primary responsibility of caring for your child, it may be important to petition for sole decision-making authority regarding their health and education, as well as a greater share of parenting time. Even if both parents are dedicated to doing what is best for the child, an arrangement involving frequent exchanges between homes may not be in the best interests of a child with special needs, both because of the difficulty in adjusting to changes in routine and the fact that one parent’s home may be better equipped to provide for the child’s needs.

Accounting for Special Needs in an Illinois Child Support Order

The calculation used in Illinois to determine a parent’s basic child support obligation is based on the typical amount that a family with a certain income would spend on raising a child. This usually means that it is not sufficient to provide for the additional costs associated with a child’s unique mental, physical, and developmental needs. Parents should be sure that the court is aware of these expenses and make the case for a deviation from the basic calculation. It may also be important to structure the child support order such that the child remains eligible for public assistance, such as Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, if the child will require care from the parents after reaching legal adulthood, it may be important to pursue a court order establishing each parent’s responsibility for providing for the needs of their non-minor child.

Supporting Your Child Throughout the Process

During the turmoil of divorce, it is especially important for you to support your child on a personal level and help them adjust to the new reality of their life. Often, this means working closely with psychologists and child development specialists to better understand your child’s needs and be sure that you are doing everything within your abilities to meet them. Professionals who know you and your child can also offer valuable input as you attempt to structure your divorce agreement.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

At Cosley Law Office, we are committed to understanding your unique needs so that we can better help you achieve the results you are looking for in your divorce resolution. We know that protecting your children is especially important, and we will work to help you do so. For a free initial consultation, contact our Arlington Heights divorce lawyer at 847-253-3100 today.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K505.htm

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K513.5

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

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