Disputes over child custody are some of the biggest challenges that divorcing parents face. For children, the experience can be upsetting and confusing, causing other issues that may impact their short- and long-term wellbeing.
When a child has special needs, parents and family court judges must make unique considerations to ensure that a child’s best interests are looked after.
Securing legal custody of a child allows you to provide the care they need as they move forward after your divorce. A family law attorney can help you navigate the uncertain and complex child custody process.
How Special Needs Impact Child Custody
Child custody gives you the ability to care for your child and make important decisions related to their upbringing. Parents can be given physical or legal custody depending on different factors.
Physical custody relates to the location at which the child will live. Legal custody gives parents the legal rights to make decisions related to their educational, health, medical, and other needs.
A child with special needs presents unique health concerns that parents must address. These include aspects related to physical and emotional health.
The presence of a child with special needs may significantly impact child custody decisions. The home, lifestyle, and finances of each parent must be assessed in order to determine their ability to care for a child with special needs.
Georgia family law courts typically try to minimize any disruptions to the life of the child in order to ensure that all of their needs are met.
What Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody for a Child With Special Needs
The child’s best interests serve as the standard by which child custody decisions are made. There are many factors used by family court judges to determine how a child will be cared for during and after a divorce.
When a child has special needs, judges must consider the parents’ ability to provide the resources needed by the child along with any required medical care.
Any changes to the child’s living situation may be disruptive. So the child’s ability to adjust to a new home or school environment must be assessed.
Children with physical disabilities need to access properties using ramps for wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids.
Any orders or recommendations from doctors must be considered when making child custody decisions. Also, the child’s primary care providers must be located within a reasonable distance from the home.
Securing the Custody of Your Child in Divorce
Parents need to prioritize the needs of children during a divorce. They must shield children from the conflicts that arise during a divorce case and make it easy for them to transition into a new home or school life.
Custody and visitation times may need to be modified in order to accommodate the special needs of your child. So you and your spouse must be flexible when establishing the terms of your agreement.
Parents need to make sure that any change in location won’t interfere with the child’s education and any other services.
The child should have full access to both parents at any time. Parents must be available to be reached by phone, email, video calls, and other communication channels.
Working with an experienced family law attorney helps you meet the needs of your child and ensure that their best interests are prioritized during a divorce.
Disputes related to child custody are common, and parents may request a court-appointed guardian to help determine what’s best for the child.
Parents must be able to make important decisions related to the educational and medical considerations of a child with special needs.
Your attorney helps you gather the right evidence to secure the custody decision you’re after. You’ll have the safety, security, and wellbeing your child needs as you transition into a new life after divorce.