Navigating Divorce with Special Needs Children: Legal Insights and Supportive Resources

Divorcing when children are involved is always a delicate process, but when special needs children are in the picture, it brings a unique set of challenges and considerations. As a compassionate divorce lawyer experienced in handling cases involving special needs children, I understand the intricacies involved. In this blog post, I aim to shed light on the legal obligations, specialized child care considerations, and valuable resources available to parents navigating divorce with special needs children.

Legal Obligations to Special Needs Children: A Comprehensive Overview  

**1. Best Interests Standard:  

The overarching legal principle in divorce cases involving children, including those with special needs, is the “best interests of the child” standard. Courts aim to make decisions that prioritize the well-being, health, and happiness of the child.

**2. Child Custody and Parenting Plans:  

Crafting a detailed parenting plan that addresses the specific needs of a special needs child is crucial. This plan outlines custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and responsibilities, ensuring that the child’s routine and support systems are maintained.

**3. Financial Support:  

Child support calculations may differ when a child has special needs. Courts may consider the extraordinary medical, educational, and therapeutic expenses associated with the child’s condition when determining child support obligations. A parents child support obligation for a special needs child may last into the child’s adulthood.

**4. Modification of Orders:  

Given the evolving nature of a special needs child’s requirements, parents should be aware that court orders, including custody and support arrangements, can be modified if there are substantial changes in circumstances – typically a change of 10% up or down in the monthly obligation.

Specialized Child Care Considerations: Tailoring Support for Your Child  

**1. Educational and Therapeutic Needs:  

Identify and address the specific educational and therapeutic needs of your child. This may involve collaborating with educators, therapists, and specialists to create a support system that accommodates the child’s unique requirements.

**2. Consistent Communication:  

Encourage consistent communication between parents regarding the child’s progress, challenges, and any adjustments needed in the parenting plan. A united front in addressing the child’s needs fosters a stable and supportive environment.

**3. Transition Planning:  

Recognize that transitions between households can be challenging for special needs children. Develop strategies to facilitate smooth transitions, such as maintaining consistent routines and sharing important information between parents.

Resources for Parents of Special Needs Children: Building a Support Network  

**1. Local Support Groups:  

Seek out local support groups for parents of special needs children. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of community.Some options are included below:

Peak Parent Center – a Colorado nonpropfit that helps connect free and low-cost services to families of children with disabilities.

Foothills Gateway – A Northern Colorado nonprofit that helps coordinate services for citizens with developmental disabilities.

Parent to Parent Colorado – A local chapter of a national organization that helps connect families of kids with disabilities and help provide resources.

**2. Professional Guidance:  

Engage with professionals such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, and special education advocates. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating the challenges specific to special needs children during and after divorce.


**3. Online Communities:  

Explore online communities and forums where parents of special needs children share insights and resources. These platforms can offer a wealth of information, recommendations, and a supportive virtual community.

**4. Legal Counsel with Expertise:  

Choose a divorce lawyer with experience in handling cases involving special needs children. Having a legal advocate who understands the unique legal considerations and can advocate for the best interests of your child is essential.

Conclusion: Nurturing a Supportive Environspeciment for Special Needs Children  

Divorcing with special needs children requires a thoughtful and comprehensive approach that prioritizes their well-being. By understanding the legal obligations, addressing specialized child care considerations, and tapping into available resources, parents can navigate this challenging terrain with sensitivity and support. As your dedicated divorce lawyer, I am committed to guiding you through this process, ensuring that the legal framework aligns with the unique needs of your special needs child, and fostering an environment where they can thrive despite the changes in family dynamics.


Call Alexander & Associates, a Fort Collins Child Custody Lawyer, or book online to schedule an appointment today.