Child custody issues during a divorce are tough to begin with and are compounded when you have a child with special needs. There are many additional considerations to factor into your planning and negotiations.

Here is some information from the Special Needs Alliance to think about if you are preparing for a divorce.

Think about your child’s best interests

Writing out a thorough parenting plan is beneficial during any divorce and crucial when there is a child with special needs in the picture. In addition to figuring out with which parent your child is going to live, you need to determine how much time he or she is going to spend with your ex.

You also need to discuss the extent of your child’s disabilities and how these are going to impact their adult life. As your child ages, you are going to need to contemplate things such as:

  • Eligibility for government benefits
  • Guardianship
  • The possibility of independent living
  • Employment
  • The likelihood of custodial care

Plan for the additional financial costs

Divorce with a child with special needs has many different financial considerations. Unlike other custody agreements where child support may end upon graduation from college, there might be lifelong financial support and co-parenting required indefinitely. This depends upon the severity of your child’s impairment.

It is hard to predict what costs may arise in the future. Currently, your child may incur additional medical expenditures such as special care or services, equipment, nutritional needs and non-prescription treatments. One way to plan for these extra expenses is by setting up a special needs trust that incorporates public benefits, long-term care insurance and gifting plans.