Divorce and Special Needs Children

As a parent of a special needs child, you are likely aware of the many challenges that raising a special needs child can bring. You have also likely heard the statistics about the high rate of divorce among parents of special needs children. Is there something about raising a special needs child that perpetuates failed marriages? How can the interests of special needs children be addressed during divorce?

Generally, the higher rates of divorce amongst parents of special needs children are blamed on the stresses involved in caring for a special needs child. Children with special needs often require more time and attention than children without special needs. As such, parents tend to focus significant amounts of time and energy on the child, leaving little time to foster the marital relationship. In most cases involving special needs children, there is no one to blame. However, placing blame on one spouse or the other can bring about unnecessary feelings of resentment or guilt. Such feelings can be harmful to the marriage.

Divorces involving special needs children can be very complex. The involvement of a special needs child can affect parent time-sharing, child support, and property division determinations in divorce proceedings. Many special needs children require consistency and structure in their everyday lives. As such, courts must take into consideration the particular needs of a child when establishing time-sharing and visitation plans. Additionally, caring for a special needs child can be very expensive. Thus, the custodial parent may require additional child support in order to cover all of the child’s expenses. Parents may also need to agree on a parenting plan for the child’s daily and long-term care and an education plan if the child requires special education.

If you are considering divorce and have a special needs child, it is important to have an experienced Tampa Bay divorce attorney on your side to protect your child’s interests.

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