How Are Custody Decisions Made for Special Needs Children?

woman holding child

Though you love and cherish your child with special needs, caring for a child who has intense needs can be stressful. In many instances, the stress endured by both parents when caring for a special needs child can place undue tension on the marriage, which can, when combined with additional factors, lead to a divorce. If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you may find that a custody decision can vary based on the needs of the child. As such, connecting with an experienced Nassau County child custody lawyer is in your best interest. The following blog can answer some of the most common questions you may have regarding these matters.

What Constitutes a Child With Special Needs?

When a child has specific needs that must be met, whether these are physical, mental, or emotional, they are considered special needs. For example, a child with cerebral palsy, autism, or bipolar disorder are all respective examples of children who require more specialized and specific attention and assistance.

Do Custody Decisions Vary for Special Needs Children?

Generally, when courts make a custody decision, they determine what is in the child’s best interest. However, because children with special needs often require considerably more time and energy, what is in their best interest will look different. As such, the courts will consider several additional factors to ensure the child receives the best outcome possible. These elements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child (including financially, mentally, and emotionally)
  • The time each parent has to care for the child
  • If the child has any specific medical orders from a healthcare professional
  • If the homes of the parents are accessible for a child with mental or physical disabilities
  • Where the parents live in relation to medical or behavioral healthcare facilities
  • If the parent lives in or near the family home
  • If the parents live near the community and school the child is used to

Should I Connect With an Attorney for These Matters?

Because there are additional considerations the courts must make in regard to a child with special needs, it’s imperative to connect with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through these complex matters. Unfortunately, many parents make the assumption that child custody decisions are one-size-fits-all, without realizing these are entirely different matters. If you are the parent of a special needs child, there are steps you can take to help prove to the courts you are fit to have custody.

This can be incredibly complex and overwhelming to handle on your own. As such, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if this reflects your circumstances. Connect with us today to learn how we can fight the best interest of you and your family during these matters.

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