Over the past 10 years or so, the child with special needs has taken front and center with regard to school, treatment and awareness. However, one area that is often overlooked by those going through divorce or separation is how the special needs of a child can impact not just custody in general, but, the parenting time schedule as well.
Although the Courts tend to prefer that both parents enjoy similar time with their child(ren), the special needs of that child should make the court take a much closer look at what is in their best interest. Many special needs children require the consistency and predictability of being in one primary home for the vast majority of the time. They tend to adjust to their environment better and overall do better emotionally and scholastically. Unfortunately, many judges do not fully understand that. Therefore, it is vital for you to work closely with an attorney who has had significant experience with the special needs child and how to educate the Court, often through the use of experts, to why a “typical” visitation schedule may simply not be right for a particular child. In my practice, I have represented hundreds of clients with special needs children and once a Court truly understand what that means, the parenting time schedule can tilt heavily toward the parent who has the best grasp of their child’s issues.