Special Needs Children Could Have an Impact on Alimony

During the COVID-19 era, many individuals, perhaps including yourself, have found themselves contemplating divorce. With reduced distractions and more time spent at home, thoughts about the state of relationships and the possibility of divorce have become increasingly prevalent. If you’re considering divorce and have a special needs child, navigating the process can be especially complex. One crucial aspect to consider is spousal support, particularly concerning the financial needs of your special needs child. Let’s delve into how spousal support factors into supporting a special needs child during and after divorce.

There are two things that you can choose to do with these thoughts. The first would be to internalize them and push them to the corner of your life so that they do not come up for some time again. Or, you can begin to consider them and move towards the planning stage of a divorce. The first step in planning a divorce is to determine whether or not your marriage is salvageable and whether or not that is a step you wish to take as far as attending counseling or attempting reconciliation with your spouse.

Only you know your specific family dynamics well enough to determine what is appropriate for you and your spouse. It does not take two to tango in a divorce. If you want to get a divorce and your spouse does not want to divorce, you can still get divorced. However, I would caution you to think thoroughly through the issue. If you have determined a divorce is necessary, you should begin to interview and speak to family law attorneys that may help you navigate your case.

Navigating unique challenges: your divorce journey

I use the term “your case” for a reason. Your divorce case is different than your neighbor’s divorce or your cousin’s divorce. No other family has specific problems, challenges, adversities, and familial makeup as yours. As such, the issues that you and your spouse face in your divorce will be unique for you and your family. While many families may be going through financial hardships right now, none of those financial hardships are created precisely equal. While some families in Texas may have special needs children, no special needs child is as unique as yours. I could make an analogy to a snowflake here, but I think that may be a bit trite.

Since your divorce is unique to you and your spouse, the challenges must also be unique in preparation to overcome those challenges. You cannot rely upon the experience of a family member or friend, no matter how close they are to you when it comes to getting ready for your divorce. You need to share specific information with someone who has been through the process many times to develop case strategies and act intentionally when implementing them. That is where working with an experienced family law attorney comes into play. When it comes time for you to act on your motivation to get divorced, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to have an attorney by your side. Would you try to climb Mount Everest without help? You would not try doing that; I am pretty sure.

Spousal support and special needs children: financial considerations

While getting a divorce in Texas may not be exactly as difficult as climbing the world’s tallest mountain, It can present challenges of its own. As such, do not consider getting a divorce without the assistance of a family law attorney. Add problems that your family has with finances and the unique needs of your children, and that lesson is twice as true now for your family as it would be for most others.

The intersection of your family’s financial needs with the needs of your special needs child is what I would like to discuss with you today in our blog post. Going through a divorce can put a strain on any family’s finances. You may be in a position where you have not worked for many years enter now facing the reality of living life without your spouse’s financial assistance and contribution. How can you manage to go back to school and finish the degree mall being a single parent? What are the costs associated with hiring someone to help you find a job? Is it even worth looking for a career in this economy? These are all relevant questions for you to ask.

From the perspective of your special needs child, what do you need to do to prepare for raising a special needs child on your own without the everyday assistance of your spouse? Are there unique aspects of planning that need to be included in your divorce to set you on the right course for your post-divorce life? To what extent can you expect your spouse to assist you financially and otherwise when it comes to raising your child after the divorce? These are the questions that I will attempt to go through and answer with you for the remaining portions of today’s blog post.

Focusing on the finances of your post-divorce life

After a lifetime of focusing on your unique needs child, it can be disconcerting to need to focus on your finances as you approach a divorce. This can be especially true when you are the spouse who does not focus your attention on your finances. Focusing primarily on your special needs child’s health and well-being is understandable, but it may have led to a knowledge gap regarding your finances.

You have always been able to rely upon your spouse to provide you and your family with the things that you need most, including income, a home, food, and other essentials period; now that you are facing a divorce, you can no longer be as complacent about your finances. You need to be able to focus on your child and your money. I’m not saying you should focus equally on either subject but that it would benefit both of you to be able to have a firm grasp on your family finances as well as on your child’s well-being.

You may have never worked before, but with a divorce, the odds increase that you will need to enter the workforce. Considering these factors, navigating life after divorce will be influenced by both the needs of your special child and the financial aspects of your marriage. Your child’s needs will determine whether or not you can enter the workforce and become self-sufficient from an income and financial perspective. The health of your marriage from a financial perspective will go a long way to determining what level of support you may be eligible for in a post-divorce setting.

Determine the degree to which your child requires special care

What defines a special needs child? The needs of each child can vary significantly, even among those with the same diagnosis. Your child may require varying levels of care compared to others with a similar condition. As a parent, you understand your child’s needs better than anyone else. During your divorce, it’s crucial to clarify the level of care you and your child’s doctors believe is necessary. Your stance on this issue will influence the future care arrangements for your child, whether provided by you or someone else.

If your child can attend school independently, you may pursue employment, whether it’s a career or a job, based on your experience and education. The decision to work part-time or full-time depends on your child’s level of need for supervision. These factors are crucial considerations during divorce negotiations. Gather statements and opinions from counselors or doctors working with your child to support your positions.

To bolster your opinions, it’s advisable to gather statements from relevant individuals, particularly if your spouse holds differing views. While agreement on all matters concerning your special needs child would be ideal, it may not be realistic depending on your situation. For instance, if your spouse advocates for your child attending a particular school or environment, you may need to challenge this stance. Alongside input from doctors and counselors, your personal experiences can serve as valuable evidence in the event of a trial.

This is the critical question regarding post-divorce spousal support and your children’s needs. Without the ability to work, you cannot provide for your family financially. Families with special needs children often face additional financial responsibilities after divorce. Therefore, it’s essential to address the topic of post-divorce spousal support during divorce discussions.

Spousal maintenance and contractual alimony

If you and your spouse conclude that you cannot work after a divorce, some form of post-divorce spousal support is likely necessary. The type you end up receiving will depend upon several factors, including whether or not your case goes to a trial. If your case proceeds to trial, the court might award you spousal maintenance, which your ex-spouse would pay as post-divorce spousal support. Typically, spousal maintenance caps at 20% of your ex-spouse’s net monthly income. However, based on your child’s needs and the degree to which your spouse is a high-income earner, this amount can fluctuate from case to case.

If you and your spouse settle your case in mediation, you would receive contractual alimony as spousal support. Essentially, both parties agree to a contract where your spouse pays you a certain sum of money each month after the divorce, intended to support you in caring for your child. Contractual alimony is not limited in duration like spousal maintenance typically is. This may be the best way for your family to go if your child has needs that may change over time, and there is no clear path for you to enter the workforce after the divorce.

In conclusion, navigating divorce when you have a special needs child requires careful consideration of various factors, including spousal support. Providing for the financial needs of your special needs child may entail negotiating spousal support arrangements that ensure their ongoing care and support. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout this process. Remember to prioritize the well-being of your child and seek solutions that best meet their unique needs, both during and after the divorce proceedings.

  1. Alimony or Spousal Support and a Disabled Spouse in Harris and Montgomery Counties in Texas
  2. Can spousal maintenance be ordered after a divorce has been finalized?
  3. Know How to Determine Whether Alimony will be Owed and for How Long, When Preparing for Your Texas Divorce
  4. How can custody of your special needs child in Texas effect asset division?
  5. Same-Sex Marriage and its relationship to Estate Planning and family law in Texas
  6. Costs associated with raising special needs children
  7. Special needs parents should explore unusual custody strategies
  8. Minimizing the negative impact of a divorce on special needs kids
  9. How Should Divorce, Child Support, And Custody Be Handled For Parents Of Special Needs Children?
  10. Testamentary Special Needs Trusts
  11. Children with Special Needs and Custody Arrangements in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide
  12. The Roadmap to Peace: Key Questions for Your Estate Attorney After a Loved One’s Passing

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