Divorce is difficult. What if you are contemplating divorce with special needs children? Your divorce and child custody arrangement could leave you with even harder decisions to make than in a typical divorce. The term "special needs" refers to a physical, developmental, or mental disability in a child. This can range from being on the autism spectrum to chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. Not to mention hundreds of other disabilities in between. With the rising rates of autism, considerations for divorce with special needs children has become a more prevalent issue for family law lawyers today. A family will have many unique issues to consider before divorce and custody issues are completely different when a child with special needs is involved. The lawyers of Puhl Law Group, P.C. are well-versed in representing parents with special needs. In Texas, the courts practice what is in the best interest of the child. Texas Family Code states, "the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child." This goes for the child with physical, developmental, or mental disabilities too and has some special considerations for parents who are considering divorce with special needs children. Child Support for a Special Needs Child There are many added expenses that come with raising a child with special needs. Therapies, medicine and childcare are just a few. Some children with special needs will need support long after they turn 18. Many might live at home their whole life with a parent. That parent will still need some financial help to care for their child long after typical child-support would be completed. The Texas Family Code provides that the Court may order either or both parents to financially support a child:
Child Support in Texas
All parents must support their children financially. It is their legal duty as a parent. Child support is the money the parent pays the other parent to help support his or her child when that parent doesn't live with the child. In most cases, it is the parent that does not have primary custody that is expected to pay child support.The term for this parent that owes the child support is the obligor. The term for the person that receives the money for the child is the obligee. An obligee is ordinarily a parent but not always. It can be another family member, such as a grandparent. What is the definition of a parent? In the state of Texas, a parent is a legal term. A parent means one person is the biological mother and a man who is presumed to be the child's father. The parent can be legally determined to be the child's biological father, or the person who signed the acknowledgement of paternity. A parent can also be an adoptive mother or father.
A protective order is a civil court order meant to prevent continuing acts of family violence from occurring. You can also get a protective order against sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. According to Texas law, the act of family violence (known often as domestic abuse) is defined as 1) any act by one member of a family or household intended to physically harm another member, (2) a serious threat of physical harm, or (3) the abuse of a child.
What happens when parents disagree on what is in the best interest of their children? In a divorce proceeding with two conflicting sides, and even a third side, with a child's opinion, a court might appoint an amicus attorney to make sure the child's needs are met in a divorce.