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Custody agreements for children with special needs are complex

Having a child with special needs is a challenge that many parents face. When the stresses of life impact your marriage and you call it quits, you are faced with an even bigger challenge. You have to figure out how to handle the child custody matters in the way that keeps your child's best interests as the primary focus.

The terms of a custody arrangement made in these cases will need to include specific information about what the child needs. There are many different factors that can come into the picture, based on the child's known needs and expectations. Here are a few that you might have to consider:

Transportation challenges

Some children who have special needs require specialty vehicles. For example, a wheelchair van might be necessary. Unless both parents have an appropriate vehicle, the transportation issues can be complex. One option is for both parents to divide the costs of the vehicle equally and whoever has the child has that vehicle. Another option is for the parent with the adaptive vehicle to handle all transportation.

Equipment and medication

When a child needs specific equipment and medication, it can be difficult to ensure that both homes have it all. This presents a unique conundrum for the parents. One option that some parents use is bird's nest parenting in which the child lives in one home while the parents rotate in and out of it. This means there is only one set of medical equipment needed, medications are all at a central location and the child is in a place where they feel comfortable.

Schooling needs

There are going to be decisions about school that must be made. Determining a plan for school now might make life less stressful down the road. On top of deciding who is going to make education decisions, you also need to think about how notifications of school-related events will be handled. Also, think about how to split or cover education expenses for the child.

Medical challenges

The child's medical needs may be intense. During the child custody negotiations, you and your ex need to determine who is going to make medical decisions. Will one parent handle all the medical issues while the other helps to make other major decisions? What comprises a major decision? What happens in an emergency? Knowing the answers to these questions can help as you move through the child's life.

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