Parenting Plans for Special Needs Children

Parenting plans are great when they work the way they are intended. As such, more courts are putting great stock in parenting plans and encouraging parents and attorneys to implement them when determining custody. Many courts also mandate parenting programs for both parents in an attempt to impress on parents how much of an effect divorce really has on the children. Parents are trained during these programs to work together and parent in a more effective manner following the divorce.

The goal of these parenting programs is ultimately to allow parents to settle disputes before problems arise and to work together cooperatively in the best interests of the children. While this works out well for the majority of parents and children, there are special cases which deserve special consideration, most particularly in the case of families of children with special needs. In these cases, the parenting plan must be crafted with even more of an eye toward the best interests of the children and parents are encouraged to think of situations that may arise in the future.


Of course no two parenting situations and resulting parenting plans for special needs children — or any children for that matter — are the same. The special needs child may require special equipment or overnight care, and the parenting plan provisions must address these issues. Because the care of a special needs child usually entails considerably more time, both divorced parents must have more responsibility concerning the custody agreement and parenting plan.

Both parents will have to carefully consider such things as the day-to-day living circumstances of the special needs child, the medical issues, insurance, and childcare. Although any good parenting plan will address where the children will primarily live, who will make the major decisions, etc., when considering the special needs child the plan must also cover how each parent will physically, emotionally and mentally care for the child.

The special needs child may require therapy or counseling, and these sessions must be integrated into the parenting plan as far as times, and which parent will make sure the child gets to and from the sessions. The parents will need to specify who will treat the special needs child, and both the mother and father will have to look at their respective insurance plans to determine how the excess medical expenses will be handled. When it is necessary for the special needs child to have extended child care, they must work together to ensure the person they choose is qualified to give the requisite care.

If you are considering a divorce in Boulder, Denver, or anywhere in the State of Colorado and you have a special needs child, it is important to have a divorce attorney on your side that understands the issues and complications you may face. Don't attempt to navigate the divorce process on your own. You need a Boulder divorce attorney that can protect your parenting rights, your assets, and your future during this difficult time. Contact the Boulder divorce attorneys at Goff & Goff, LLC today for a free initial consultation.

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