How to get through a divorce with a disabled child in Texas
If you have children and are considering a divorce then you probably feel a bit of unease as to whether or not moving forward with the divorce is the best thing for your family. When you get married the relationship in most cases has a direct impact on only two persons- yourself and your spouse. However, as soon as you have children your marriage expands its impact. The decisions that you and your spouse make are felt by your entire family. This is especially true if one of those children has a disability.
Special needs children are impacted acutely by your and your spouse’s decision to divorce in that they are the most vulnerable of your children and in many cases lack the capacity to understand the situation even when compared to your other children. Whether the child has an emotional, mental or medical disability a divorce creates instability for a child that cannot tolerate that sort of change.
Challenges facing divorcing families with a disabled child
Most people that are getting a divorce are concerned with their ability to see and spend time with their children once the divorce is completed. This is understandable, however, the rights and duties that each parent has towards their children is just as important if not more-so. Specifically, which parent has the ability to makemedical and educational decisions for the child needs to be considered with a great degree of seriousness. Often times parents hear the opinions of medical providers, school officials and other family members on a regular basis. With that many opinions circulating in their brains it is no wonder that many parents of a disabled child cannot always agree on what is in their child’s best interest.
If you have a disabled child then you are probably considering their well being during the lion’s share of your waking hours. You’ve read online articles, books and listened to the advice of people that work with disabled children and have a well thought out perspective to share. With that said you and your spouse know more about disabled children and your child specifically than the judge in your case ever will. Consider, then, that if you and your spouse are unable to come together and agree on a parenting plan for your disabled child then that decision will fall to the judge in your case. In order to give yourselves the best change to arrive at a settlement on these issues what should you and your spouse consider?
Children with a medical disability
As a parent, if your child has health problems you sometimes cannot help but to feel helpless. With that being said, you and your spouse may have very different ideas of the type of schools your child should attend, the doctors who should treat the child or the future visitation that is best suited for your child. You and your spouse will need to be able to balance your individual wants and desires for the child with what your spouse believes will work best. The medical treatment varies based on the physician so whether you share the ability to make medical decisions with your soon to be ex spouse or if you have the ability to just be consulted prior to your ex spouse having the final say. If it comes down to a judge having the final say in your rights and duties the best interest of the child standard will be applied.
Children with an emotional/mental disability
The same factors considered above for a child with a medical disability apply to children with emotional/mental disabilities as well. If your child has emotional disabilities then special consideration will need to be paid towards making sure the child is comfortable with their new surroundings when visiting either your spouse or your new residence. Being able to co parent effectively means having an order that allows for flexibility according to the changing needs of your child as he or she grows older.
What a judge will consider if forced to make a decision
If you and your spouse are unable to settle on the issues of your divorce then the judge will step in and play tie breaker in a trial. Obviously it is best for you and your spouse to be able to arrive at a settlement together rather than having a judge who knows very little about your child have the final say in the process. Whether through an informal settlement or a settlement arrived at in a mediation setting, I would advise any person going through a divorce with a special needs child to do everything in their power to settle the case before a judge gets their hands on it.
With that said, not every case can settle and sometimes going to see the judge is unavoidable. A judge will have to consider the specific needs of the child as well as the treatment employed to that point and whether or not it has been effective in alleviating any complicating issues. On a personal level, the judge will of course be evaluating you and your spouse to see what your attitudes are towards co-parenting and if he or she believes one of you will be less willing to listen to the other when it comes to potential decision making opportunities.
After the divorce has concluded, no matter the result, the ability to work with your ex spouse on issues that affect your child continues as if the divorce never occurred. The difference is that now you have a court order that will dictate your behavior to a great extent. Whether you believe it to be arrived at wisely or are skeptical of it, the bottom line is that it is the blueprint for the remaining years of child’s life before they turn 18.
Questions on Divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
For answers to your questions on divorce, child custody and any subject in between please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our office represents clients across southeast Texas and has the experience and tenacity to do the same for you and your family. A free of charge consultation is only a phone call away.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.