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How do the needs of a disabled child affect a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law |

Divorce rates in America remain high, but what happens when a couple’s relationship buckles under the stress of caring for a child with special needs? National Care Advisors reports that divorce rates increase exponentially for parents caring for a disabled child and once parents make the decision to end the marriage, this can complicate medical and financial matters.

As parents face divorce, they may want to understand how the process can affect their child and how to meet future needs through co-parenting and mutual cooperation.

Changing medical costs

Many states, such as Pennsylvania, require that parents of a special-needs child continue to maintain quality medical care. This may include a variety of costs, including:

  • Daily medications
  • Physical or speech therapy
  • The cost of in-home medical equipment

Depending on the details of the divorce decree, insurance costs, such as co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses, may change as well and one parent may have to cover changing or additional costs to ensure the child continues to receive quality care.

Changes in caregiving responsibility

Child custody decisions made by a local judge may impact the way parents of a disabled child interact with each other once the divorce completes. The custodial parent may have to seek additional assistance if his or her child requires full-time care; however, the court may decree that the other parent share these costs. This reduces the financial burden for the custodial parent and protects the disabled child.

Divorcing parents of a special-needs child can request a Special Needs Analysis, which may help them plan for their offspring’s long-term care. This tool can also help them set up trusts and other financial accounts that support the well-being of the child for his or her lifetime.