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Divorcing in Florida with a Child Who Has Special Needs


Divorce is typically a contentious process, made worse by tensions and arguments that escalate surrounding property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Most couples know they should be focusing on what’s important, but they tend to let anger and emotions get the best of them during negotiations.

If you have a child who has special needs and either is, or will be, enrolled in special education classes, it’s even more important that you try to focus on the big picture here. It’s also important that you retain a skilled Boca Raton divorce attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases.

Parents of a child with special needs need to do everything possible to shelve their differences and focus on the welfare of their child. Your child needs all the resources possible to help them thrive in their environment. Courts always look at what is in the best interests of the child when making these decisions. You can bet that there will be additional scrutiny due to the circumstances of how the divorce is affecting a child with special needs. 

Looking at Best Interests of the Child

There is no single meaning for determining what is in the best interest of the child. In fact, each situation is different, and each child is different. What works for one divorce and family may not work at all for another. This is why listening to friends who’ve been divorced can be dangerous. Just because the court decided for one parent in that case, it doesn’t mean it will be the same in yours — even if the facts are similar.

It’s not uncommon for parents to disagree on what their child needs when it comes to special education. Being in denial about physical and/or cognitive problems is not helpful here either. One parent may feel their child is perfectly fine to attend regular public schools, while the other wants to ensure their child remains in special education classes. This can lead to bigger arguments, which is why it is so important to have all the information available for the court to review.

When a child has special needs, you need to pay extra attention to decisions about education, visitation agreements, transferring between homes, health care needs, therapy, social activities and recreation, accessibility to services and support for your child, and more.

Unless you have a court order in your divorce that grants only one parent the right to make decisions solely on their own, your ex will have a right to attend school events and meetings. He or she has the right to weigh in on issues and concerns and make decisions that affect your child’s life. This is why it’s so imperative that you have your attorney draft a very clear divorce settlement agreement if you are resolving issues on your own. This will help avoid issues down the line.

Contact a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Today

If you have questions about divorcing in Florida with special needs children, let the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.


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