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How Are Custody Decisions Made for Special Needs Children?

Deciding who should have custody of the children after a divorce can be a complicated process. If there are special needs children involved, there may be even more considerations to make before awarding custody to one parent and developing a child support agreement. If you believe that you should be the primary caretaker for your child, you may need to fight for that right in court. Our Morris County, NJ child custody attorneys are ready to help you do that.

What is the Main Consideration When Custody Decisions Are Made for Special Needs Children?

The main consideration is always what’s in the best interest of the child. However, the answer to this can get more complex when special needs children are involved. Caring for any child is a lot of work, but when children have mental or physical disabilities they can demand even more from parents and caretakers.

The court is likely to ask a few questions before deciding who should have primary physical custody, including:

  • Who has been the primary caretaker for the child since their diagnosis?
  • What is each parent’s work and daily schedule like?
  • Which parent could better handle the stress of raising special needs children?
  • Does the child have a preference?
  • Which parent’s home is equipped with accommodations for the child?
  • Which parent is closest to the child’s doctors and therapists?

The court can decide that one home is the better fit for a child to spend most of their time in.

Can Parents Share Custody of Special Needs Children?

Parents often share legal custody of special needs children. This means that the decisions about healthcare, education, and other important matters are made with the input of both parents. Physical custody describes where the child lives much of the time.

Splitting physical custody of special needs children can be difficult. If one parent is better equipped to take care of a child, get them to doctor appointments, and add accommodations to their home, then that parent will often be selected as the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent may still get visitation rights, but arrangements could differ from the typical setup. For example, the noncustodial parent might not be able to take a special needs child for the whole weekend if their home is not accommodating to their physical disability.

How is Child Support Negotiated?

How child support is decided can also differ in cases where special needs children are involved. Raising children is always expensive, but special needs children are going to need even more care and attention. This has to be factored in when child support is being negotiated.

Schedule a Consultation With Our Team

Our lawyers have plenty of experience helping parents fight for custody. So contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. and ask to set up a consultation with our team. We can take a closer look at your case and tell you more about what we can do to help.

Get to know Townsend Tomaio & Newmark
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