When parents of special needs children divorce, they face a different set of challenges than parents of kids with no disabilities. In many (but not all) circumstances, one parent has been the primary caregiver for the special needs child since their birth.
All children, however, need to spend quality time with both of their parents whenever this is possible. So, how can the custody of disabled children be determined while still preserving the parent-child relationship with both the mother and father?
Creative Custody Arrangements May Work Best
If you're the parent of a child with disabilities, you are probably used to thinking outside of the box to solve your family's dilemmas. This may be another time when you should think creatively to solve your custody matters.
One possibility to consider is bird's nest parenting where the children remain in the home and the parent's shuttle in and out when it's their turn to spend time with the kids. This can be a costly arrangement, though, as the parents might wind up having to support three households. But it can be a viable option in some cases. Below are some other suggestions for you to consider when determining custody.
Have a Good Understanding of Your Child's Needs
This is especially important if you were not the primary caregiving parent during your relationship. Do you know all of your child's medications and dosage schedules? Are you aware of allergens and environmental hazards that can trigger a violent reaction in your son or daughter?
Are You Physically Able to Meet Your Child's Needs?
If you tip the scales at 105 lbs and must wrestle a strapping adolescent in and out of the bathtub or a car seat, you could suffer serious injuries to your back. Make sure that you have equipment like a Hoyer lift or an on-duty aide to help you with these physical tasks.
What Arrangements Does Your Child Prefer?
If your child is capable of expressing a preference, find out where they would like to live most of the time — and why. They may not want to move to a new neighborhood and have to make new friends or change schools. Others may welcome the chance for a new start in a different environment. But you won't know this unless you ask them.
Make sure that you loop your Frisco family law attorney into your ongoing discussions with your ex about the custody matter. Your attorney can provide insight and guidance to help you sort out the problem.