Contested custody situations are never easy, but when your family has a child with special needs, your family’s requirements may become far more intensive and specific. Managing a divorce and attempting to protect yourself while also trying to keep life as stable as possible for a child with special needs can require significant effort and planning.
Although you and your ex may not see eye-to-eye on many issues, hopefully, you can agree that minimizing disruptions for your child will be the best approach as you head through a divorce. There will be special circumstances that your family needs to address that other families may not have to consider during a divorce.
Can you stay in the marital home or in the same school district to retain services?
All children require stability and routine, but a predictable daily schedule and environment are of the utmost importance for children with special needs, even in shared custody situations. Ideally, your child and one parent can remain in the marital home during and after the divorce. That way, your child stays in the space that they consider home, which will give them an added sense of security during a difficult time.
If staying in the same home isn’t possible for practical or financial reasons, you need to carefully consider what relocation could mean for your family. Can you obtain a rental or temporary living situation in your current school district? Moving into a new school district or across county lines can directly impact the services your child has access to.
How your child’s needs will influence most aspects of the divorce
In most Texas divorces, the courts will look at family circumstances when they try to determine how to split up marital assets. The needs that your child has, including care from a parent, special educational needs and additional medical costs, can all influence how the courts rule in the divorce proceedings. That means you could request more of the marital estate if you expect to remain home to care for your child.
A parent who has stayed out of the workforce to provide support and care for a child with special needs may be more likely to collect long-term alimony than other people going through a divorce. The courts may also order additional child support to reflect increased child care or medical expenses that the family incurs.