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Divorce with a Disabled Child

 Posted on January 20, 2024 in Family Law

MI divorce lawyerDivorce cases that involve children are often complicated. When you and your spouse have a child who is disabled together, it is important to create a parenting time schedule and allocating parental responsibilities in a way that will meet the child’s needs. Many children struggle with their parents’ divorce. Children who have significant disabilities may have difficulty adapting to the change. You and your spouse will likely need to continue working together as co-parents for a very long time, even after your child turns 18 years old. Parents with disabled children are often advised to use mediation to help them develop a parenting plan, as these parents understand their child’s specific needs far better than a judge who does not know the child would. It is important to work with an experienced Northville, MI, divorce and child custody lawyer who can help you create the right co-parenting strategy. 

Tips for Co-Parenting a Disabled Child After Divorce 

Parents of disabled children often find that it takes the efforts of both parents to keep the child safe, as healthy as possible, and well-cared for. This is not likely to change after you separate. Tips for creating a parenting plan for a disabled child include: 

  • Ask about alimony - If one of you will be the child’s full-time caregiver, it may interfere with your ability to work for pay outside the home. In this situation, the court may find that spousal maintenance is appropriate. 
  • Create long-term plans - You will need to consider what will happen after your child turns 18 years old. If your child’s disabilities are such that they will never be able to join the workforce and support themself, it may be wise to plan for your child’s long-term care. Who will be the guardian when your child becomes an adult? How will you pay for a group home or caregiver? 
  • Consider the “bird nest” strategy - If your marital home is set up to accommodate your child’s disabilities, they may benefit from staying in the home full-time. Instead of moving the child, consider having each parent take turns staying in the marital home with the child when it is their turn to have parenting time. 
  • Include health insurance - Make sure that it is clear which parent is responsible for maintaining a health insurance policy on behalf of the child. 
  • Plan to cooperate - Even if you and your spouse cannot stand each other, you will likely need to continue working together. It is best to keep things as civil as possible between you. 

While there may be some difficulty in adjusting to a new routine, you will likely be happier as co-parents living separately than you were married. 

Contact an Oakland County, MI, Divorce Lawyer

Elkouri Heath, PLC is dedicated to helping divorcing parents put their child’s needs first. Our experienced Northville, MI, divorce and child custody attorneys will do all we can to help you create the best parenting plan for your child. Contact us at 248-344-9700 for a free initial consultation. 

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