Issues Special Needs Parents Encounter Post Divorce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that today, one in 59 children in the U.S. have some form of autism, and many have accompanying medical conditions, like anxiety and ADHD. According to a recent study using research from Rutgers University, New Jersey leads the nation, with one out of every 34 children diagnosed with the condition.

Happily married couples who have a child with autism work hard together every single day to ensure their child's unique mental and physical needs are met.

However, for divorcing couples, dealing with matters involving a child with special needs is often extremely challenging. Many often do not foresee the issues that they need to address regarding their child both in the short and long term.

A Family Law Attorney Who Recognizes The Challenges

I am family law attorney Diana Marin. During my 20-plus years of experience handling divorce and related matters for those in New Jersey, I have seen and continue to see many challenging issues divorcing parents encounter when it comes to their special needs children, such as:

1. School-Related Affairs

Children with autism will likely have an educational development plan through school. However, agreeing on the specifics of the child's IEP and other educational services as welwho are at odds with each other or each other's parenting style.

Many parents, unfortunately, fail to foresee these issues and have difficulty handling the logistics of these matters.

2. Unforeseen Financial Liabilities

Noncustodial parents likely realize their obligations when it comes to child support post divorce. However, parents with special needs children often fail to forecast additional expenses that go in tandem when they separate.

One parent may need to purchase or modify a vehicle that includes a lift if his or her child requires a wheel chair. The parent who maintains primary custody of their child may, for example, need to modify a bathroom or front entryway to accommodate their child.

These are a couple of unexpected expenses many parents with special needs children may not anticipate after they divorce.

3. Long-Term Health Care Planning And Expenses

Children with special needs often require specific, ongoing, health care. Older parents who have autistic children often need to plan for future residential care for their child post divorce. Parents who have a child with special needs who is approaching adulthood also may need to establish an adult guardianship, create a special needs trust or apply for government benefits.

Parents often consider such issues but not necessarily ones such as these that extend far into the future.

The Assistance Of A Parent Facilitator

The good news is that there is hope for parents who need help making these types of unexpected, challenging decisions.

In many cases, a parent facilitator — one who can assist clashing couples make important decisions — can make a big difference.

I am a divorced parent of a special needs child, and I know firsthand the struggles parents encounter when it comes to choices involving their special needs child. As a lawyer with 20-plus years of experience as an educator, child advocate, and mediator, I have helped and counseled many parents who need guidance regarding these issues.

Let Me Help You

I invite you to call my office at 973-432-2375 to schedule a free 30-minute appointment to talk about your struggles, and how I can help you and your ex-spouse make important decisions affecting your child.

I offer one-on-one meetings at my office in Montclair or virtual meetings if you need to meet outside of normal business hours.