Co-parenting can be difficult for any former couple. However, it can be particularly challenging for parents that share a special needs child.
A special needs child is going to need more structure and routine than other children. Therefore, conversations must delve deeper than just planning visitation times, vacation schedules, and financial responsibilities.
What topics must you address when arranging for custody of a special needs child?
Worry over the quality and consistency of care often motivates parents to petition the court for sole physical custody of their child with special needs.
Special needs children often require specialized medical equipment, prescription medications, supplemental nutrition and more frequent doctor trips. They may also need specialized transportation to get to the hospital or school.
If the child does need specialized equipment, then it may be cost-prohibitive to have two sets of it. Thus, the parents may have to arrange to have the equipment transported back and forth between each home.
Parents must consider how close their homes are to the places that their child typically frequents when weighing what custody arrangement is best, so think about what doctors, therapists and other skilled providers a child needs before making any plan.
Shared custody is an option with special needs children, but it might not function the same way as other kids. Special needs children tend to function better when they have very set routines. Thus, it might be necessary for the child to spend longer visitation times with each parent to minimize switches in their routine.
Sorting out the custody of your special needs child
If you are someone with a special needs child and are trying to coordinate a child custody arrangement, there are many factors to consider that deviate from your average case. An experienced advocate can help you navigate through the various challenges and options to help make for as smooth a transition as possible.