Co-parenting can be challenging for most parents. They may find it hard to reach a compromise with one another. Co-parents also find it challenging to adjust to navigating their different work and social commitments while being single parents.
Parents that share a special needs child may find navigating co-parenting even more challenging, however. There are some unique aspects involved in raising a special needs child that you’ll need to consider when brokering a co-parenting agreement in your case.
Logistical concerns to address when drafting parenting plans for special needs children
Many special needs kids have to visit their medical providers or receive food or medication at set intervals. Your child may also need around-the-clock care or require the use of specialized medical equipment. You’ll both need to keep all this in mind when brokering a custodial agreement for your special needs child.
It’s not uncommon for one of the parents to become your child’s 24-hour caregiver. You’ll need to have a backup plan in place for a replacement caregiver if you are the caregiving parent, yet are not with your child. You’ll also need to ensure the respite caregiver is well-trained in all procedures, e.g., preparing food, administering medication or otherwise caring for your son or daughter.
You two will also need a viable transportation strategy for getting your child to their appointments, school and your co-parent’s home. During your relationship, there may have only been one vehicle equipped for transporting your special needs child. Now, you need to figure out how these transport issues can be resolved.
You’ll also need to determine how to transport potentially heavy or expensive medical equipment between each others’ homes. You may find that a transportation service can at least partially help with this.
Which impasses do parents of special needs kids face?
There are a few different options that parents can employ to share custody of their special needs child. A bird’s nest parenting approach whereby the parents switch out homes and the child remains at one location may work. Facilitating more prolonged exchanges lasting a week or more while using paid caregivers and publicly-funded transportation may also be an option.
Most family law attorneys have experience helping parents of special needs kids derive workable special needs parenting plans. They can share their wealth of experience with you to help reach an agreement with your ex.