Divorce is a difficult enough experience, but can be even more challenging
for spouses who have a child with special needs. The amount of detail
required to plan for your child’s future, well-being, and protection
can feel overwhelming, especially for the custodial parent. To ease some
of these difficulties, make sure both you and your spouse consider what
your child’s special needs are and have your lawyer walk you through
a day of caring for your child.
Charts for child support do not address the added expenses of a child with
special needs. It is important to factor in the increased need for specialty
medical care, services, equipment, non-prescription treatments, vitamins
and nutritional needs. Having any uncertainty regarding these added expenses
and cost of future care will make it impossible to adequately estimate
disability-related expenses in a divorce settlement agreement.
When negotiating a parenting plan, critical information and instructions
should be explicitly stated. As a starting point, it would be prudent
to first explore how much you and your spouse agree about your child’s
disabilities and abilities. Special care should also be given to estate
planning and the child’s transition into adulthood.
When Does Child Support End?
Typically, child support ends when a child reaches the age of majority
or when he or she graduates from college. For divorcing parents of children
with special needs, however, this is often not the case, given that some
disabilities involve severe impairments that require life-long care and
life-long co-parenting. The divorce agreement must consider the unique
issues of your special needs child, including their eligibility for quasi-government
or private agency benefits, employment, recreation and social skills,
independent living, or custodial care.
Having a child with special needs not only impacts child support payments,
but spousal support payments as well, which must also factor in many of
the aforementioned concerns. This can be a complex area of law, which
is why you should consult a family law attorney who is knowledgeable on
such matters to avoid forfeiting your child’s entitlements. In-kind
alimony or child support, for example, can help preserve government benefits.
However, it must be addressed during the divorce process.
Work Toward an Agreement that Suits Your Child’s Needs
Caring for a child with special needs can seem like a full-time job and
the impact it can have on the income of a custodial parent should be considered
when spousal maintenance is determined, particularly since this care often
extends beyond the age of majority. A divorce agreement should be tailored
to your unique situation and reflect the long-term costs involved. Do
what you can to effectively channel support obligations and parenting
plans in the divorce settlement, so that you are able to provide a better
quality of life for your child.
Beverly Hills Child Support Lawyers
Parents have a financial obligation to support their children and, if you
are in the midst of a divorce and have a special needs child, the issue of
child support is a particularly important issue for you. The quality of your life and
your child’s life will be greatly influenced by the decision the
court makes regarding child support. At Stolar & Associates, we have
more than 30 years of experience and our attorneys have made appearances
in thousands of cases. We understand the ins and outs of taking any child
support case to court and are well equipped to advise you on a wide range
of support-related matters.
Call us at 310.984.1411 to schedule a consultation with one of our Beverly
Hills child support lawyers.