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Three Considerations for Special Needs Children in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneyGetting divorced in Illinois presents unique challenges for every couple, but a couple who shares a child with disabilities will need to be prepared to handle common divorce scenarios with a little extra flexibility. Because the needs of a child with a disability are often more complex and demanding, parents will need to adjust their parenting plans accordingly. If you have a special needs child in Illinois and are preparing to get divorced, here are three areas you will need to negotiate. 

Parental Responsibilities

Rather than use the term “custody,” Illinois now uses “parental responsibilities” to describe the rights of each parent to make decisions on behalf of a child. Children with special needs often require intensive, regular intervention from parents about essential issues like medical care, school choices, aftercare programs, and more. Parents often make these decisions together during marriage and shared parental responsibilities are common for special needs children following divorce.

Parenting Time

Like parental responsibilities, parents of special needs children often manage a child’s supervision needs together. But once a couple gets divorced, they no longer live in the same household and may require extensive supplemental childcare and support. Negotiating a fair and appropriate parenting time schedule is essential, not only for the child’s well-being, but also so parents can get the rest and support they need. Parents who work together are much more likely to find a satisfactory parenting time arrangement than parents who leave this decision to an Illinois court. 

Child Support

Special needs children may need significant medical and educational supports that can be quite costly. While child support payments are generally determined using the Illinois income shares table, a court may adjust child support payments to ensure a child has the resources he or she needs following a divorce. 

Furthermore, child support payments usually terminate once a child turns 18 or graduates from high school. But, for special needs children who cannot become independent even in adulthood, child support payments may be necessary in perpetuity so one parent does not carry the financial burden of supporting a child by themselves. Parents can set up a trust for their child’s care and there may also be alternative support services available through state and federal resources. 

Meet with a Skilled Naperville Divorce Lawyer

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we customize your divorce strategy to fit the unique needs of you and your family. For help creating a divorce plan with an experienced Naperville divorce attorney, call our offices today at 630-352-2240 to schedule a confidential consultation. 



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