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Parenting Time and the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities for Children with Special Needs

When making a determination for parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities, the courts generally consider the best interest of a child. However, there is often an extra element of concern when the determination involves a child with special needs. Much of this is due to the increased need for supervision, medical care, and educational provisions. How might these factors impact your case? More importantly, how can you ensure that your child's needs are met during the divorce proceedings? The following explores these questions and provides information on where to find qualified legal assistance with your case. 

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

The allocation of parental responsibilities is the power to make decisions about the child's daily life (i.e. where to receive medical care, education needs, religious affiliation, etc.). It is often assumed that the parent with more parenting time will receive more of the decision-making power, but this is not always true. The child's needs and family dynamics could lead to a nearly even split in the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as joint custody), or one parent may have more decision-making power than the other. That increased amount of decision-making power can go to either parent, regardless of the amount of awarded parenting time.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is the time that a parent spends caring for the child. This includes everything from ensuring that the child goes to school and any attends applicable doctor's appointments to meeting the child's basic care needs (i.e. feeding, changing, social interaction, etc.). For a child with special needs, the daily care could influence behavior, development, and overall health. As such, parents should carefully consider how their work, school, or social schedule may impede their ability to meet the child's needs.

Making the Determination

It can be difficult to decide for any family to decide how to split parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities during a divorce, but those with special needs often face additional challenges. For example, both parents may work, and each may struggle to meet their child's needs without outside assistance. Some divorcing parents resolve this issue through mediation or another alternative dispute resolution option. In most instances, this provides more flexibility in the details of their parenting plan, which may allow for improved accommodations for the child.

Unfortunately, not all marriages end peacefully. Some couples may be unable to compromise. Others might have special circumstances that prevent them from safely pursuing mediation or alternative dispute resolution (i.e. domestic violence). In these instances, the determination may be made through the courts. If this is the path that you are planning to travel, remember that a judge may not fully understand your child's needs. As such, it is important to seek experienced legal assistance.

Contact Our Wheaton Family Law Attorneys

If you are planning on filing for divorce and have a special needs child, do not leave your case in the hands of fate. Instead, ensure your child's needs and interests are protected and contact The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. for assistance. Experienced and committed, we will work with you to develop a creative parenting plan that can hopefully satisfy all involved parties. Schedule a consultation with our Wheaton family law attorneys by calling 630-462-9500 today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
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