There are important considerations that must be made if you have a child, or children, with special needs and are considering a divorce. Divorce is difficult but adding the complexities of a divorce when a child with special needs is involved can be overwhelming and even debilitating. There are so many details that require special attention that it can be difficult to know where to start. Caring for a special needs child without the complexities of divorce is challenging enough. I have personally watched my parents try to navigate and understand the government rules and regulations surrounding benefits my brother could or couldn’t qualify for at varying stages of his life. Now as they begin to walk through the transition to retirement and what that means for my brother’s assistance, like Medicaid to Medicare and how that may or may not affect other assistance from local agencies is overwhelming.
If you are heading down the path of divorce and you have a child or children with special needs, it is imperative that you gather the right team around you to move through this process. Typical divorce challenges, like child support, determining a co-parenting plan and the financial settlement all have additional layers of complexity to consider. If your child will be unable to emancipate then the typical short-term decisions become lifelong decisions.
There are irreversible financial implications of divorce that if not done correctly could cause a child to completely lose government assistance programs, like Medicaid or SSI. If you are getting a divorce and a have a child with special needs you want to include professionals like a family law attorney, an estate attorney who specializes in special needs trusts and guardianship, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who understands the financial intricacies of planning for a child with special needs.
I understand how impossible it can seem to find the right resources or guidance to navigate the world of government assistance programs or even put thought to tomorrows challenges. Unlike a Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, attorneys are often limited to a specific geographical area where they can practice. If your family is walking down this road do not limit yourself to receiving piecemeal information, add a CDFA to your team, either local or remote, to help guide you through all the facets of your divorce and planning for your child with special needs.