If one or more of your children have special needs and you are involved in a custody case, your child’s needs will be an important factor that will shape the custody arrangement for your family. Whether you and your child’s other parent share custody or one of you has primary custody while the other has visitation, your child will be spending at least some of their time at the other parent’s house. It is therefore important that the court understands the needs of your children as well as how much knowledge and experience each of you has in meeting those needs.
While all divorcing parents must be able to communicate and work together on matters involving their children, parents of children with special needs will have to be even more involved with each other both during and after your divorce. Living with special needs often requires constant evaluation and reevaluation of how the child is doing with their current treatment plan, as well as deciding whether and when to change various parts of the treatment plan, so your ability to communicate about this process is a major factor in determining what kind of custody arrangement will work for your family.
Another factor to consider when creating a custody plan to propose to the other party or for presentation to the court as part of a custody dispute is how your special needs child is likely to respond to the changes in their day to day life that will result from the proposed custody order. All children thrive when routines and stability are a part of their lives, but special needs children are especially sensitive to changes in their day to day activities. Since you know your special needs child well, you are likely to be able to predict how any proposed changes to your child’s daily schedule will affect them.
These are just some of the considerations which affect custody decisions involving special needs children. If one or more of your children have special needs, be sure to describe those needs clearly in any custody plan that you propose to the court or to the other party, and be sure to include a clear plan for how each parent will provide the care that your children need under the proposed agreement.
To learn more about child custody for families who have children with special needs, please call Girolaw at (201) 690-1642 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney.