When a Child Has Special Needs
With the divorce rate among parents of children with special needs at approximately 80 percent, questions regarding child support and child custody for differently abled children are common. Many parents are familiar with the basics of child support laws, and support calculations can be somewhat cut and dry when the number of children and the income of the obligor are the primary variables. Divorcing parents who have a special needs child, however, will likely have to address such additional issues as:
- Mobility issues that can hamper shared custody schedules
- Conflicts regarding healthcare needs and choices
- Healthcare that is not covered by medical insurance
- The question of who will pay for medical insurance
- Care of the home, including care and accommodation in a school
- A parent’s ability to work outside of the home in light of the child’s care needs
- Life-long support issues if special needs will continue into adulthood: effects of direct support payments on Medicare entitlements for a special needs adult
To effectively address these and other child support and child custody questions in regard to a special needs child, it is most often helpful and even necessary to work with a qualified family law and estate planning attorney. An attorney can provide appropriate counsel regarding:
- What issues to address in various agreements
- How the law will affect your rights as a custodial or noncustodial parent.
With legal counsel, you can ensure that your divorce decree speaks to expense and logistic issues, custody and visitation agreements and other areas of concern and potential conflict. An attorney can also ensure that both your rights and the interests of your child are addressed and met.
When conflicts do arise, an attorney can also assemble and present your case to the designated legal authority. Often, a simple and concise statement of the child’s changed or changing needs can bring about needed results: in a recent Texas case (Scott 926 S.W.2d 415), the court stated, after the mother of a special needs child testified to her child’s need for increased support, that “the law does not require [the parent] seeking child support modification to go this far … [the parent] is in the best position, as managing conservator, to explain the needs of the child.” In this case, child support greater than the guidelines was awarded.
For more information regarding divorce and the rights of special needs children in San Antonio TX, contact Cramp Law Firm, PLLC, at 210-832-8064.