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What Should Parents of Children With Special Needs Know About Divorce?

Posted on in Family Law

Joliet IL family lawyerParents of children with special health or developmental needs are well aware of the challenges that come with raising and providing for them. Unfortunately, these challenges can often become more pronounced when parents are going through a divorce. In addition to the mental energy that the divorce process requires, parents may also be concerned about how best to handle decisions regarding child support and parental responsibilities in a way that prioritizes their children’s interests and needs.

Child Support for Special Needs Children in Illinois

One of the most significant challenges for parents of children with special needs is the financial cost. Estimates from the U.S. government indicate that from birth to age 18, the cost of raising a child with special needs may be at least five times as high as the cost of raising an average child. While many sources of financial assistance may be available, a good portion of the expenses is likely to fall on the child’s parents.

When the parents of a child with special needs decide to get divorced, child support is a crucial element of the resolution. Illinois law typically bases child support obligations on the average amount that parents within a certain income bracket tend to spend on a child’s basic needs, but the law allows for a significant deviation from the usual calculation to account for a child’s extraordinary developmental, medical, or physical needs. You should be sure to consider costs including ongoing medical care and treatment, special education, in-home accommodations, transportation to appointments, and the services of child therapists and developmental specialists.

Special Considerations for Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

When allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities in an Illinois divorce, a child’s needs and physical and mental health are some of the most important considerations. A child with special needs may struggle to adapt to a parenting time schedule with frequent exchanges, so it may be in their best interest to spend most of the time living with one parent. Other important parenting time considerations include each parent’s ability to provide accommodations for the child in their home, provide for the child’s regular care needs, and ensure that the child attends any scheduled appointments. Parents will also need to determine who is responsible for making important decisions about the child’s health and education, as well as how they will communicate and share information regarding these matters.

Contact a Joliet, IL Family Lawyer

At The Foray Firm, we understand the stresses that parents of children with special needs are under throughout the divorce process and beyond. Our compassionate Will County family law attorneys will work to understand your needs and help you consider your options regarding child custody and child support. To learn more about what we can do for you and your child, reach out to us today by calling 312-702-1293.

 

Sources:

https://www.policygenius.com/blog/financial-planning-child-disability/

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k505.htm

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8675000&SeqEnd=12200000

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K513.5

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