Our office will be closed on Monday, May 27th for Memorial Day.

Rice Law Firm Logo


Divorce and Special Needs Children

Navigating any divorce can be complicated. There are many considerations to be made. The process becomes even more complex, however, when special needs children are involved. You want to ensure both safety and long-term care are adequately addressed. The trouble is, not all Daytona Beach attorneys are well-versed in multiple aspects of family law.

You want and deserve a skilled and qualified advocate who can help you determine your best legal steps when not only outlining your divorce, but also ensuring the proper and appropriate attention for your special needs loved ones. In this article, you’ll learn more about how to conclusively meet both goals. 

Ensure Current Consistency

All children crave and appreciate stability. For special needs youth, however, providing this constancy and routine is essential to their continued mental and emotional well-being. That means priority should first be placed on maintaining a strong family support network — both during and after divorce.

You’ll also need to address specifics such as:

  • where the child will permanently reside
  • how much contact each parent will have with children following the divorce
  • how physical and emotional transitions will be addressed
  • child support payment specifics

Reliable medical care is of utmost importance. If a custodial parent relocates to an area with sub-par care, that decision could adversely affect the child for decades. Financial obligations should also be considered. Are you able to pay for necessary care with reduced income following your divorce?

Finding concrete answers to pressing questions is simple and straight-forward when you partner with a trusted and reputable Daytona Beach divorce attorney. This way, you’ll be able to make sense of even the most complex scenarios.

Look to the Future

Your special needs child will almost certainly require advanced hands-on care and nurture as he or she matures. Depending on the specifics of your child’s unique situation, that could include:

  • post-secondary education and training
  • securing and maintaining gainful employment
  • independent living and life goals
  • social and recreational activities and involvement

You’ll also need to plan for the day that both you and your former spouse pass on. How will your special needs child be continually cared for financially, physically/emotionally, and otherwise? What estate planning revisions and updates must be made to accommodate this major life change?

It’s helpful to know that there are friendly and knowledgeable Ormond Beach attorneys well-versed in divorce and family law who can provide you with various options by which to move forward.

Create a Detailed Parenting Plan

Parenting plans detail instructions and essential information concerning the continued care and well-being of special needs children. There have been cases where one parent was not fully aware of specific care requirements. So, creating and distributing such a plan to appropriate parties is another way to ensure long-term security for special needs youth.

In other cases, one person has a markedly different parenting style than the other. Most special needs children crave and require consistency. Sudden leniency or rigidity could be traumatic. In addition, failure of one parent or the other to recognize and embrace the depth of special needs could turn out to be problematic.

Of course, no idea will be perfect. At the least, however, your plan should include particulars concerning diet, medications, communication, behavior management, necessary physical environment adaptations, and more. Reaching out to a family law attorney who has experience working with financial advisers and special needs professionals is a good first step to ensuring your child’s prolonged benefits eligibility.  

Also, it is important to know that under Florida law, and relative to child support determination and calculations, there can be a legal basis for what is called an upward adjustment or upward deviation from the presumptive child support figure to take into consideration the physical and/or emotional, special needs of the child(ren).  Also, under Florida law, we can look to see if there is a need for continued child support for the special needs child(ren) beyond the age of 18, which in Florida is the legal age of majority.

Enlist Professional Assistance

Your divorce is likely to be a trying and emotionally-exhausting time. Those feelings are heightened when special needs children are involved. That’s why finding a skilled and qualified advocate is essential.

For more than 35 years, Rice Law Firm has helped countless Central Florida residents with a variety of legal concerns. Along with being a reliable Daytona criminal attorney, our firm also specializes in divorce and family law, business and corporate law, personal injury and wrongful death, and more. That’s partly how we’ve built a solid reputation as one of the premier attorneys in Daytona Beach, Florida. Contact us today with all your questions, and to get started on your unique legal matter.