Going through a divorce and figuring out your new life with co-parenting can be challenging, and the co-parenting schedule and terms can be unique when you have a child (or children) with special needs. There are issues and concerns both parents will face when it comes to a special needs or medically fragile child, and having some help navigating this situation can go a long way. Here are a few tips for going through this with your former spouse.
Always share all the information.
Provided there are no direct court orders as to why you should not disclose all the information about your child, you should always share all the information with your former spouse. From medical appointments to educational concerns and everything in between, each parent should have the same information regarding their child. There may be some legal releases or medical releases that parents need to sign for each parent to access all the records, but once this is done, no information should be withheld.
A special needs child may be unable to follow the schedule of one week with parent A and the next with parent B. Parents with a special needs child will need to be flexible with scheduling and the time the child spends with each. Also, certain things will need to be accommodated for the child’s best interests. Do your best to work with your former spouse to make the co-parenting agreement and schedule as flexible as possible so that both parents can spend time with their child.
Be prepared to spend time with your former spouse
Even though your marriage or relationship didn’t work, you will need to be prepared to spend a fair amount of time with your former spouse. Whether it’s going to doctor’s consultations, hospital visits, or to see education counsellors together, these visits will be important for the sake of your child.
Find a dispute resolution service
You may be lucky enough never to have a serious dispute with your ex-partner, but you will likely come across a topic you cannot agree on. For this, it may be best to access a dispute resolution service that you both like and feel it will be fair and impartial to both sides. You may not need to use it right away, but it’s beneficial to have the name and numbers to call in the event you need it, instead of searching amid a dispute.
Talk (and agree) about finances
There are financial challenges and implications parents of special needs children will face that other parents may never experience. It’s very important, for this reason, to talk about finances and agree on the costs you both may experience. You may need to determine who will pay for what or the maximum dollar amount you’re both willing to spend on a certain item. You may need to include a mediator for this to get something in writing, but it will be worth knowing that both of you have agreed to specific terms when an issue arises.
Contact Marcy Segal today
Are you navigating the complexities of co-parenting a child with special needs? Contact us today to speak to a family lawyer to learn how we can help.