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Making child custody decisions that account for special needs

| Apr 16, 2014 | Child Custody |

For families with children with special needs, parents can be especially worried about the emotional and physical effects divorce may have on their kids. Fortunately, there are more social and legal resources than ever before for Illinois families in these situations. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, here are a few useful tips to help parents make important child custody decisions and have peace of mind at the same time.

Given that children with special needs like an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be especially sensitive to changes to their daily routine and lifestyle, it’s important to recognize that divorce may expose them to any number of difficulties. That is why parents are advised to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney in order to establish a child custody and visitation agreement that accounts for the particular needs of the child. One way of helping to ensure that the divorce process is not traumatic for a child with ASD is to work with both an attorney and a family therapist to discuss and plan for coming changes in a child’s life.

Similarly, a family law attorney can help parents identify and provide for the current and future needs of the child with ASD by creating a special needs trust. Establishing a special needs trust can help to cover everything from the future housing to educational needs of the child, going above and beyond a standard child support arrangement.

Gaining the support of a trusted attorney can help parents address the needs of their children responsibly and thoughtfully. After all, families with children with special needs have the right to resources and opportunities to ensure that they thrive during and after the divorce process.

Source: Huffington Post, “When Parents of a Child With Autism Divorce: Separating Myth From Reality,” Bari Zell Weinberger, April 4, 2014

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