How to Handle Custody Disputes Involving a Special Needs Child

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Dec 08, 2021 | 0 Comments

Divorce and custody battles are difficult for everyone to go through, especially for the children of two divorcing parents. When your children have special needs, there are more considerations to take into account concerning custody.

Do Child Custody Requirements Differ for Special Needs Children?

Courts decide custody cases based on the child's best interest and use several factors to determine what it is. When a special needs child is involved, courts usually look at additional factors, as children with special needs typically require a greater level of care.

Additional Factors the Court Considers for Custody of a Special Needs Child

  • If parents have the financial resources and time to provide services and care to the child

  • The ability to provide medical care if needed

  • If the child has special care instructions from a medical care provider

  • Accessibility in each parent's place of residence, such as wheelchair ramps

  • Parents' proximity to medical facilities

  • The child's ability to adjust to a new home, school, or community if the parent in a new location is better able to handle the child's needs

Helping a Special Needs Child Transition to a New Visitation Plan

When handling a custody case involving a child with special needs, you and your co-parent should consider how you'll transition your child to a new visitation plan which often requires some flexibility. If your child is having a hard time being away from one parent, the two of you may agree to let your child stay one extra night with that parent, even if it's not part of the visitation plan.

Dividing Conservator Rights

Conservator rights tend to be a bigger issue in custody cases involving children with special needs than those without. You and your co-parent will have to approach medical care as a team, which may require some tough negotiations and decisions.

Custody disputes can be stressful, and when they involve a special needs child, you have extra considerations to keep in mind. At Jerkins Family Law, our experienced family law attorneys can help guide you through the process and advocate for your child's best interest. Call us today at (919) 719-2785 or contact us online.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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