Caring for a special needs child requires a phenomenal amount of patience and dedication, not to mention the added expenses incurred. Even the strongest families can, and do, struggle when faced with the care of a special needs child. Consider then, how much more stressful and overwhelming this situation can be for the parents of a special needs child who are going through a divorce.
In addition to all of the regular needs that must be met for all children during a divorce, children with special needs require even more. To remain stable, they need an uninterrupted continuation of emotional and financial care. As such, divorcing parents will need to consider additional financial support and arrangements for their child. Both during and after the divorce.
It is simply a fact that families with disabled children will spend thousands of dollars every year dealing with uninsured medical expenses. For this reason, it is critical that a divorcing couple with a disabled or special needs child address the issue of medical expenses when working out the details of their divorce settlement.
For example, health insurance premiums and deductibles, medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, and any alternative medical treatments that a family may choose are all medical expenses that will need to be accounted for.
Special Needs Trust
It is highly recommended that divorcing parents work with their attorneys during divorce proceedings to create a special needs trust. 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.
Certain states, including Michigan, allow for child support to be secured by a life insurance policy. It is worth it in this situation for the parents to discuss with their respective attorneys the option of negotiating a policy that would cover medical expenses in addition to covering basic daily needs, in the event of the death of the paying parent.
While a divorce is hard on everyone, no matter what their age or station in life, a parent of a special needs child has more to contend with than most. Talk to your family law attorney about the unique circumstances that your family is facing. They will be able to help you create a plan that meets the individual needs of your whole family.
Having discussed the financial concerns you will need to think about, join us next time for part two, where we will be discussing the emotional concerns that you may need to consider during your divorce.