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Addressing child custody of a special needs child

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | Family Law

Child custody disputes can be complex and hard-fought. That’s why parents who face these matters often work hard to build compelling arguments that support their belief that their proposed child custody and visitation arrangement is best for their children. While parents who are in this situation will want to consider a number of factors relevant to a child custody determination, these disputes can be even more challenging to disentangle when a special needs child is involved.

Why child custody disputes involving special needs children are so challenging

This is because determining what’s in the best interests of a special needs child can be especially challenging. After all, you’ll not only have to consider each home’s financial and emotional stability, as well as educational opportunities available to the child, but you’ll also have to take into account each home’s ability to meet the child’s treatment and rehabilitation needs. This requires you to take a holistic approach when analyzing your child’s day-to-day life, focusing not only on the challenges that he or she may face, but also the parenting intricacies that are involved.

Considerations in these child custody disputes

When considering the child custody and visitation issues involved with your special needs child, you should also take into account some circumstances that may be unique to your child. This can include any of the following:

  • The child’s access to specialized care
  • The child’s ability to travel to school and to visit the other parent
  • Each parent’s ability to successfully navigate government programs aimed at assisting special needs children
  • Each parent’s availability to devote the time needed to care for the child, especially if such care requires full-time attention
  • Your special needs child’s ability to adapt to new routines and rules that can be found in each household
  • What your child’s long-term care will look like after he or she reaches adulthood

Hopefully you and your child’s other parent can have honest conversations about what is best for your child, but in some cases that simply isn’t possible. In these instances, you may need to not only gather evidence from your child’s medical professionals as well as friends and family members who can attest to your ability to care for the child, but you might also want to have a child custody evaluation conducted. These evaluations can give the court an unbiased picture of each parent’s ability to care for the child and make recommendations as to legal and physical custody arrangements, as well as what visitation should look like. This evaluation could serve as strong arguments in your case.

Competently navigate your special need child’s custody and visitation

Remember, regardless of how you feel about your child’s other parent, your child’s best interests come first. This very well may mean that the court will support a joint legal and physical custody arrangement, and that type of custody layout is commonly favored by the courts. But if your child struggles with transitions, then this constant changing of living arrangements might be detrimental to your child. Yet, limited contact with the other parent may lead a child to believe that he or she has been abandoned. That’s why you have to carefully and diligently lay out your custody and visitation plan while being able to articulate how it’s best for you child.

We know that’s not an easy endeavor. When you’re just trying to do what’s right for you child, the thought of a legal fight can be stressful and disheartening. But you don’t have to do the heavy lifting in your case, especially if you have a fighter on your side. Legal teams like the one at our firm are used to handling these kinds of dispute, which is why we stand ready to aggressively advocate for our clients and what they feel is best for their children.