Divorcing couples will need to navigate numerous challenging conversations on the path toward reaching an acceptable compromise. From the division of assets and debts to the determination of financial support, a couple will often struggle through complex negotiations. These conversations can reach an incredible level of difficulty when children are involved. If the divorcing couple are the parents of a child with special needs, developing a comprehensive parenting plan can be problematic.
A parenting plan is a written document that addresses various issues and contingencies that parents might have to work through after a divorce. The parenting plan can be detailed or general based on certain factors. Exchange dates and times as well as a list of acceptable locations can be included as well as decision-making responsibility. There are four elements, however, that parents of children with special needs must consider.
- Testing: It might be wise to consider who takes responsibility for testing or assessments including travel and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Treatment: Even if a treatment plan has been developed, it might be necessary to make revisions based on the changing condition or the growing child. New treatments (diet and medication, for example) might be added to the plan that require both parents to approve and follow.
- Supplies: Devices such as mobility equipment and medication will likely be addressed in the parenting plan.
- Communication: A parenting plan might also include information regarding communication methods. Is it better to reach a parent through email, text or social media sites? What are the preferred methods? What is an acceptable time frame in which to respond?
While it might be impossible to craft the perfect parenting plan right from the start, working with an experienced family law attorney is a step in the right direction. Additionally, if plans need to be revised in the future, your lawyer can provide guidance in this matter, also. Too many ex-spouses attempt to reach an agreement regarding modifications on their own. Unfortunately, these verbal changes are not legally enforceable. Contact an attorney today to discuss your options.