How Do I Help My Special Needs Child During My Divorce? (Part 1)

Legs of kid holding crutches
Special needs kids might have a hard time with the divorce, and need more help to adjust.

Divorce is hard for everyone. The challenges and difficulties that have to be overcome can be substantial. But for special needs kids and their parents here in and around Oakland County, those challenges are usually a lot more complex and can make the divorce process even harder. In addition to the emotional toll that divorce takes on every family, parents of kids with special needs will need even more patience, compassion, and dedication if they’re going to make it through this difficult time.

However, while patience, compassion and dedication will go a long way towards making this transition somewhat easier, there are a number of other things that will help a lot as well. Special needs kids need an uninterrupted continuation of emotional and financial care, regardless of what upheavals their families may be facing. That’s why divorcing parents, especially in Oakland County, ought to consider additional financial support and arrangements for their special needs child, both during and after the divorce.

  • Medical Costs:

It is a well-known fact that families with disabled and special needs children spend thousands of dollars every year dealing with uninsured medical expenses. Divorce will not change this reality, and so for this reason it’s critical that divorcing couples with disabled or special needs children address the issue of medical expenses when figuring out the details of their divorce settlement.

For example, things like health insurance premiums and deductibles, medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance, and any alternative medical treatments are all expenses that will need to be accounted for. Deciding who is responsible for what, when working out the terms of your divorce settlement, will make it considerably easier down the road when you are faced with a substantial medical bill and a potentially smaller income. Seasoned divorce attorneys will help you with those negotiations.

  • Life Insurance

Certain states, including Michigan, allow for child support to be secured by a life insurance policy.  For the parents of special needs and disabled children, it is worth it in this situation to discuss with your respective divorce attorneys the option of negotiating an insurance policy that would cover both medical expenses and basic daily needs, in the event that the paying parent passes away.

Talk to your Oakland County divorce attorney about the unique circumstances your family is facing. Explain exactly what needs and routines your family has on a daily basis, while caring for your special needs or disabled child. This way, your attorney will be able to work out exactly what will best suit your family. They will also be able to negotiate on your behalf to ensure that your current and future needs are met.

  • Special Needs Trust

We recommend that divorcing parents in Oakland County with special needs kids work with their divorce attorneys to create a special needs trust. A special needs trust, also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust, is a specialized legal document that’s designed to benefit an individual with a disability.

The trust would provide benefits to, and protect the assets of, a disabled beneficiary. It would also serve to protect the child’s ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits.

Do you need help with your divorce in Oakland County?

Join us next time when we’ll be discussing the emotional concerns you need to consider during your Oakland County divorce. Until then, if you or a loved one are considering divorce in the Oakland County or Macomb County areas, we can help. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys have assisted countless families with special needs children to work through their divorce processes and achieve the best possible outcomes. You can reach our Farmington Hills office at (248) 479-6200.