A child who has special needs often needs two adults to help care for them. When their parents divorce, there are some considerations that come into the picture that aren’t present in many other cases. These will depend on what types of needs the children have, so the parents will need to think carefully as they’re working through the parenting plan terms.
One of the primary considerations for parents is how they can ensure that the child has all their medical needs met. For a child who has durable medical equipment, this can be challenging because the parents may have to figure out how they can transport the equipment from one home to the other for visitation, since obtaining two sets of equipment can be cost-prohibitive (if not impossible). In some cases, the parents may opt to have the child remain in one home while the adults rotate out. This is known as bird’s nest parenting.
Transportation is another issue for some children who have special needs. When there is a need for a vehicle with special adaptations, such as a mobility transfer lift, the parents will either need to share the vehicle or they will each need a vehicle so they can transport the child. The only other option would be for one parent to always handle the transportation needs of the child, regardless of which parent is caring for the child at the time.
Parents also have to determine who will make decisions for the child. If the decisions will be made by both parents together, a method for working through disagreements must be determined. All of these points should be included in the parenting plan so that both adults can refer to these terms as necessary.
When working through a complicated parenting plan, rely on your attorney for guidance. They often know what will work — and what will not.