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Child custody and parenting of special needs children in divorce

Florida couples in the throes of divorce may agree that it is a stressful time with many challenging decisions to be made. Child-related issues can complicate matters considerably, and if there is a special needs child, all aspects of child custody and parenting will require extra careful consideration by both parents. Parents of special needs children might have to face potential life-long co-parenting.

In such situations, joint decision-making with relation to education and health care will require more in-depth and frequent communication between parents. Most decisions will also demand the input of professionals in various fields, and if the child is part of a special care education facility, participation in meetings will be expected from both parents. Collaborating with education, therapeutic and healthcare professionals will be time-consuming activities that will have to be worked into parenting plans.

Parents who are considering divorce may be overwhelmed by the prospect of working out the details that will protect the best interests of a special needs child. However, they need not try to cope with these issues on their own. One option is to utilize the services of an impartial third party, such as a divorce mediator. This person will encourage communication that will focus on the future and the commitment of both parents to care for the child.

A consultation with an experienced family law attorney can provide answers to questions about child custody and parenting of a special needs child. The lawyer might even suggest additional support and guidance by other professionals, such as parenting coordinators, therapists and more. He or she will also explain the applicable Florida laws for matters such as the financial support obligations of divorced parents with special needs children.

Source: Huffington Post, "Listen to Our Children in Need: Special Needs Children and Divorce", Sherri Donovan, Sept. 13, 2017

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