Whether you’re in Ashburn or Oak Hill, you want to be sure you have the right support if you’re going through a divorce. This kind of situation can be stressful for anyone, but when you’re dealing with divorce and have a child with special needs, the stress may feel insurmountable.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your divorce more straightforward and to avoid stressful arguments or conflicts over the care of your child.
Shared physical custody – A standard in Virginia
In Virginia, most courts would prefer to see two parents share custody of their child. Sometimes, when a child has significant needs, it can be hard to have physical custody split evenly. It may be physically difficult to transport your child, or they may not be medically stable and able to come and go freely.
In this circumstance, it’s reasonable to look into setting up one parent as the primary caregiver but to design custody in a way that allows the other parent access to the child in whichever home is their main home. For example, your child may live with you seven days a week, but your ex-spouse may come to your home and spend time with them several days a week for their parenting time.
In cases where your child can be moved, you may still have difficulties. Perhaps you’d need to purchase duplicates of expensive medical equipment or have to work out how to get another vehicle with wheelchair access. In that case, you and your ex-spouse will walk to talk about how reasonable alternating custody is and how to handle the equipment that your child needs to be medically stable.
Of course, there are times when a child with special needs will not have any physical restrictions. In those situations, you might opt to switch custody regularly or to have longer exchanges, every week or every two weeks, for example, to help your child adjust to living in a different environment.
Custody for children with special needs requires detailed plans
You and your child’s other parent know your child best. It’s important for you both to address the logistics of exchanging custody as well as the emotional toll that custody exchanges could have on your child, so you can design a plan that is in their best interests.