Divorce can be hard on any child, but special needs children may face unique challenges. One of the most important components of divorce is making sure your child’s best interests are protected. You and your spouse will likely put a good deal of effort into crafting a parenting plan and parenting time-sharing schedule that suits your needs and contributes to the health and well-being of your child. If you have a special needs child, these tasks may prove particularly challenging.
You may want to consider divorce mediation if your child has special needs. Taking your divorce to court may not give you the control needed to ensure your child’s unique needs are accommodated. While the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will ensure your child’s best interests are looked out for, there could be several different people weighing in on the matter, such as a judge, guardian ad litem, and parenting evaluator. Mediation ensures you and your spouse are the ones making the important decisions about your child and his or her special needs.
A child with special needs may require more involvement from both parents. The transition periods between houses may be crucial. Special needs children sometimes need more routine and consistency than other children. You will also need to discuss decision-making responsibilities between you and your spouse. As your child grows, there may be decisions you have to make for them that are important. For example, who will decide what therapist your child will go to or what special treatments he or she will undergo? Will you and your spouse be able to agree on these matters in the future? Your child’s education is similarly important. Your child’s educational needs may change in the future, and addressing educational decision making in your separation agreement can ensure a smooth transition in the future.
Your child is unique and may have special needs not traditionally addressed in a parenting plan. You may need to discuss the possibility of child support continuing after your child turns 18. Also, make sure your child’s health insurance will be secured and you have a cost-sharing arrangement for any uninsured medical expenses. Discuss your child’s special needs with your mediator. An experienced mediator will be able to assist you and your spouse with creating a separation agreement that accommodates your child’s special needs and protects their health and well-being.
If you have questions about how to protect your child’s best interests during divorce, Mediation Advantage Services can assist you. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you and your spouse create a separation agreement that looks out for your child’s best interests by accommodating their special needs. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 645-6374, fill out our online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.