Following a divorce, custody battles are an extremely stressful time for everyone involved. Every parent wants what's best for their children, but they also want to maximize their own time with their sons and daughters. Because the stakes are so high, this can lead to many tense words and emotional exchanges between former spouses – and the experience can be even more intense when a special needs child is involved. If your child has a physical, intellectual, emotional, or developmental disability, they likely require special care and attention that can be disrupted by custody battles or shared arrangements for care. Here are a few things to consider when fighting for custody of a special needs child – as well as when and how an experienced family law attorney can help.
Fighting for Custody of a Special Needs Child
On a basic level, parents of special needs kids have the same custody options as anyone else – parents can choose to share custody, or one parent may have sole physical custody while the other has visitation rights. However, in the case of special needs kids, the court has even more of an obligation to act in the child's best interest since they may not be able to speak for themselves, and the constant transitions inherent to shared custody arrangements may be even more difficult. This means professional opinions from pediatricians and psychologists are likely to heavily influence the court's decision, as they can weigh in on the child's mental and emotional condition and each parent's ability and willingness to meet their needs.
If you're fighting for custody of a special needs child, it's important to demonstrate to the court that you are up to the task of caring for them and providing a nurturing and supportive environment. If you are able to present a realistic parenting plan and show that you have physical and financial resources readily available for support, you have a better shot of being granted custody. The mental and physical health of the parent will also likely play a more significant role in custody hearings concerning special needs children, as will the child's relationship with each parent and their established roles in caring for the child before the divorce.
How an Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
While caring for a special needs child is indeed challenging, it is also an extremely rewarding experience. If you are concerned about missing out on time with your special needs child or their needs not being met due to a shared custody arrangement following a divorce or separation, New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team can help you fight. The Lento Law Firm has helped many New Jersey families achieve favorable results in custody hearings, and they are ready to help you. Call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today to discuss your case.