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Creating a Custody Plan for a Child with Special Needs

 Posted on February 21, 2024 in Family Law

Frisco family law attorneyWhen parents of a child with special needs separate or divorce, creating a custody plan requires extra care and consideration. The needs of the child must remain the top priority throughout the process. With open communication, flexibility, and proper legal guidance, parents can develop an effective joint custody arrangement tailored to their child. A Texas family law lawyer can help make sure you are following the proper steps.

Understanding Your Child's Needs

The first step is understanding your child's specific needs related to their disability, disorder, illness, or condition. Document their routine, therapies, interventions, medications, and any other plans. Also, make note of any behavioral, learning, or medical issues that require accommodation. These details will help inform custody discussions.

Get input from doctors, therapists, and teachers to understand the full scope of your child's needs. They may also provide letters documenting the necessity of certain services and treatments for your child's well-being. Bring these to custody mediations to give legal guidance.

Considering Joint Custody Arrangements

Joint custody allows both parents to remain actively involved in medical and educational decision-making when appropriate. This maintains consistency critical for managing special needs. Be open to creative scheduling that splits time while keeping your child's care streamlined.

Be Flexible & Open to Compromise

Rigid arrangements often fail special needs children by disrupting stabilizing routines. Remain flexible around medical events and treatment changes. Be willing to compromise and collaborate with your ex for your child's best interest.

For example, if your custody schedule prevents your child from attending a therapy appointment, discuss swapping parent times with your ex for consistency. Consult doctors before making any changes that could unsettle your child's regimen.

Clarifying Roles, Rights & Responsibilities

Clearly delineate legal and physical custody rights in your parenting plan. Spell out medical decision-making authority and educational rights. Use "tie-breaker" clauses for disagreements requiring third-party intervention.

Define care schedules, transition procedures, and parents' participation level in medical treatments, schooling, and more. For severe special needs, consider listing specifics like therapy chauffeuring duties or medication administration responsibilities.

Updating Your Custody Agreement

Revisit and potentially update custody terms after major medical developments related to your child's health or at educational junctures like an IEP overhaul. Be prepared to renegotiate in good faith.

Contact a Frisco, TX Family Law Attorney

While navigating custody issues presents further challenges for parents of special needs kids, you must ultimately protect your child's well-being. Do your best to shelter them from conflict. With professional guidance tailored to your child's health with a Collin County, TX family lawyer, you can potentially develop a fair, detailed custody arrangement benefiting everyone. Call Pfister Family Law at 972-954-6455 for a consultation.

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