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Making a parenting plan for children with special needs

In the United States, 1 in 50 children has a disability. When parents of a child with special needs seek a divorce, they know they must take great care when determining custody and creating a parenting plan for their child.

Here are a few things that parents should know as they work to make a parenting plan that will best meet their child’s best interests.

Collaboration will be critical

Parents will likely have to maintain a high level of cooperation and communication even after their divorce when they have a child with special needs.

That is why it is critical for parents to establish specific rules and boundaries proactively. Caring for a child with special needs requires a significant amount of time and care, and parents must coordinate that care even after their divorce.

What essential elements must be in the parenting plan?

Every parenting plan must be tailored to the child’s and the family’s individual needs. However, parents of a child with special needs will often have to include several more details in their plan, including:

  • Specific responsibilities and care management;
  • Financial plans to protect their child’s eligibility for support and benefits;
  • Decision-making strategies regarding their child’s education and treatment;
  • Important details about the child’s diet; and
  • When parents must administer medications.

North Carolina parents should also include a plan for emergencies. This can be frightening to think about, but it is a reality for many parents who have children with special needs, especially if they have specific medical conditions.

So, parents should work together to create a plan for how they will:

  • Inform each other about medical emergencies;
  • Approach potential hospital stays; and
  • Manage their child’s care after the emergency.

Collaboration and a detailed parenting plan are so critical to help both parents ensure they continue to meet their child’s best interests, even while the parents’ relationship is changing.