Every year, millions of parents with children get divorced, and although it affects everyone involved, it can be especially difficult for children with disabilities. Whether physically or mentally disabled, the children have certain special requirements, and above all, Texas family courts will make decisions regarding “the best interests of the child.”
Going through a divorce is difficult and stressful on its own, but when parents of children with disabilities are getting divorced, it’s always important to put the best interests of the child first. As a divorce attorney in Fort Worth, attorney Wendy Hart has years of experience in Texas family courtrooms, and we will always listen carefully to you to put you and your child’s best interests at the forefront of our litigation strategy.
Parenting Plans and Major Concerns
In cases with children with disabilities, it’s essential to remember that the children often need the continued support of both parents after a divorce, and Texas family courts and judges heavily consider this factor when making child custody and support decisions. Whether parents are negotiating the parenting plan, or litigating in court, some of the major issues that courts will consider include:
- Whether the child can be cared for at home or at an outside facility, and how will these costs be covered
- Making sure that special social and recreational opportunities and appropriate educational programs are available
- Which parent has the authority over major decisions, such as medical, educational, and therapeutical
- Which parent will be responsible for treatments not covered by insurance
- How the parents and the child’s school will continue to implement educational plans for the child
- How the parents’ work will affect their ability to provide reasonable and satisfactory care for the child
- Which parent will handle the lifetime care and costs of the child
Parents don’t have to solely take on one responsibility, and it’s important to negotiate the duties and responsibilities of each parent. Not only will this make the divorce easier for the courts and for your children, but it will also demonstrate to the courts that both parents have the child’s best interests at heart.
How to Create a Parenting Plan for a Child With Disabilities
As the parents of a child with disabilities, there are no better experts than yourselves with regards to the child’s best interests and well-being. However, if there are substantial conflicts, and parents cannot agree on fundamental issues, then the courts will require the parents and their attorneys to litigate the custody and support issues in court.
Although a standard parenting plan might not be suitable for the special needs of the child, there are some definite elements that you need to consider for an adapted parenting plan:
- The transitions after divorce, including living arrangements and visitations.
- Custom designed divorce decrees to make sure that the child’s needs are met for the child’s life. Final decrees may have to be modified for the child’s benefit.
- The financial aspect of the child’s disabilities and needs. List all the expenses of raising the child, including medical costs, food for special nutritional needs and diets, special medical equipment, special school needs, and special transportation needs.
- Spousal maintenance and alimony must be worked out so that the primary caregiver has the means to provide both necessary and reasonable care.
Also, it is important to remember that some special needs children will require care throughout their entire lives, and in these cases, the divorce decree must address the long-term needs of the child.
Contact the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart for Your Divorce
Every child and every family are different, and the cookie-cutter approach won’t work in every case. As such, you need a Mansfield-Fort Worth attorney experienced in child custody cases to represent you and your child’s interests, make your voice heard, and fight in courts, if necessary.
To help make sure that the divorce doesn’t compromise the valuable care that your child requires to maintain and happy and healthy future, call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart today at (817) 842-2336.