Custody cases involving special needs children can present unique issues. The special needs child may require special care that could impact how the parents conduct child custody and child support negotiations.
Both physical custody and legal custody can be more complex when there is a special needs child. The parents need to understand who gets to make decisions about the child’s healthcare and schooling.
Developing a Custody Schedule
If your child has special needs, they more require more attention and resources. Both parents need to be honest about what resources they have and whether they are truly able to care for the child.
A special needs child may also be uncomfortable with moving around from one parent’s house to the other’s. Giving primary physical custody to one parent may be more practical and easier for everyone. The other parent may get occasional custody or visitation rights.
Both parents need to make sure their homes are equipped to be accessible and comfortable for the child. This may require modifications or adjustments, but it’s necessary if the child will be spending time at both households.
Child Support Payments
If your special needs child requires extraordinary resources for healthcare, education, or other expenses, you may need to ask the court to deviate from North Carolina’s child support guidelines. Deviations may be permitted, but you will have to show evidence of your expenses.
Parents that care for special needs children may also have a hard time balancing a work schedule or finding a childcare provider that meets their needs. If you want to request a deviation from the child support guidelines, consult with a child custody attorney.
Adult Special Needs Children
When a special needs child turns 18, some legal issues are treated differently. A noncustodial parent will no longer be required to pay child support, even if the child can’t provide for themselves due to their disability. The parent may choose to agree to continue providing financial support, but they aren’t required to under North Carolina law.
If their child lacks legal competence, the parents may also need to consider becoming appointed guardians. This gives them the power to continue to make decisions on their child’s behalf.
King Law handles family law matters in North and South Carolina, including divorce, alimony, and child support cases. Follow us on Facebook for more information and updates on family law issues.