Subscribe

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child’s name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out medical care and learned that the baby may require special needs.  Zach disagreed and filed for divorce.  Zach provides the required child support but nothing more and refuses to acknowledge that his child needs special care, blaming this on “bad parenting” of the mom and an attempt to get more money from him. 

Unfortunately, this is not that uncommon.  Parents of special needs children, or even parents of children without special needs, do not always see eye to eye on the care of their child.  Often one parent will be unwilling to see their child as a special needs child, leaving the other parent to work through the process alone.  This process involves medical care, special classes in school and more.  What do you do when your ex won’t help parenting your special needs child?

The answer to this can be complex.  It will depend on whether you have gone through a full divorce and custody process.  We will break these down in two parts.  

  1.  If you have a court order discussing your parental duties before you found out about your child’s medical condition, and that order calls for joint legal custody (where you presumably share these decisions), you need to consider a modification of your current order to place those decisions in the hands of just one parent.  Generally, a modification allows you to ask the court to change a variety of custody arrangements as well as child support when you provide evidence of the need to do so.  Here, you would want to show that the parties disagree as to educational decisions and that one parent’s making those decisions is advantageous for the child. 
  2. If you do not have a court order that defines parenting and custody, but plan to get one, it’s time to go to Court and define the obligations of the parents.  You will put in place specific rights of the parents and address the needs for your child.  Items such as decisions making for educational issues, money for special medical attention, educational requirements and more, must be laid out with some specificity.  

 

Either of these paths will require an experienced family lawyer.  It can be difficult to succeed with a modification without the proper proof that one is truly needed.  In the case above, the husband will probably fight a modification since he does not believe the child has any special needs.  If that is the case, he may enlist doctors who will contradict those that say otherwise.  As you can see, this can become costly and it’s vitally important to the well-being of your child.  The Court will consider only that which is in the best interest of your child.  Having an experienced lawyer will yield you the best chance at winning for your child.  

 

Also keep in mind that parenting is difficult even with a child that does not have special needs.  One parent may believe in homework while the other does not.  One parent may think that video games “teach” though the other feels they are just a waste of time.  A father may not want a child to learn certain things (ie sex education) at school while the other finds this enriching.  Though the situation may be aggravated parenting your special needs child, the situation also exists for parents of children in mainstream learning.  If you face these issues, discuss your case with an attorney to iron out a plan that works best for your family and  your children.  

 

If you are experiencing this situation or have questions about a similar issue, contact me today.  My office offers a free phone consultation so that you can be sure you are hiring the right attorney for your situation.  

 

 

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it's something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you down the wrong path.  Tips from the bar around the corner are even worse and sometimes...

You Want Me to Communicate with Her? You Don’t Know My Wife!

Sound familiar?  I hear this comment on a regular basis.  It seems counter intuitive to ask that a couple going through a divorce, sometimes a contested and harsh divorce, do the unthinkable - talk to one another.  But that's exactly what I ask of my clients.  You...

Supervised Visitation: The Brad and Angelina Case

Brad and Angelina I’m sure you’ve seen recently that Brad and Angelina have made strides in settling their parenting agreement.  Angelina is maintaining primary custody of the children.  Brad will have “therapeutic visits” with the kids.   Basically, that amounts to...

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire BOSTON, MA – The Supreme Judicial Court today announced an interim procedure to implement a new statute, St. 2014, Chapter 254, Section 2, which...

Can a Child Choose Their Parent After Divorce in Massachusetts

Massachusetts : When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Often I am asked "can a child choose their parent after the divorce"?, so I thought this would be a great topic of discussion.  It is important to remember that each state handles this...

Should I contact an Attorney about Divorce?

If you’re having trouble in your marriage, you feel overwhelmed.  You feel like it's going to get better, yet it never does.  Your friends and family may be unaware of the true depth of your situation.  Often this is when you may think: "should I contact an attorney...

Parental Alienation: Divorce and Custody Series

Divorce can have a variety of effects for both parents and children. Children often feel misplaced and at fault so it’s the parents’ responsibility to assure the child that the causes of the divorce were not related to the children at all. Unfortunately, some parents...

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce If you see divorce or separation looming in your future, there are ways to plan ahead and build financial security to prepare for what could be a financially difficult time ahead.   Here are some tips for you to...

Keep Your Divorce A Private Matter

You have probably seen it in the news.  Johnny Depp and his wife are divorcing.  You may have even searched for details of the settlement.  After all, he's bound to be worth millions (or more!?)!!  How are they going to split that vast estate?  Well, you may have...

A Child’s Right to Decide: New Hampshire

New Hampshire: When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Okay,  New Hampshire readers – I promised you would hear my thoughts on a child's right to decide shortly, so here it is. The law in New Hampshire is different than that in Massachusetts. Read...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I do!? First, understand that you are in default and a warrant has likely been issued for...

Can an Attorney Represent Both Parties in a Divorce

I receive calls frequently from potential clients who are seeking an attorney to counsel the parties, together, for a divorce. This happens for a variety of reasons. You want to save money. You feel as if you are in agreement on many of the issues. You want the...

For my Massachusetts Divorce, do I need my marriage certificate?

In Massachusetts, when you file a Complaint for Divorce, you must also file a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You may want to keep your copy or you may not have it. So, how do you get one? This is an easy issue to resolve. Contact the city hall in the...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can ensure that your children are cared for by the person that you prefer. Planning ahead can...

Massachusetts OUI Laws

People often ask me what can happen in the event they (or a family member or friend) are pulled over and suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  Here is some information from the Massachusetts website to help explain the Massachusetts OUI...

New Hampshire Law: Alimony

       Alimony is always hot topic in matters of divorce. Not everyone understands on what basis it is determined and if awarded, how the amount and length of the award is determined.        In New Hampshire, the mystery...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The sad truth is that this is probably the most important time to get your estate plan revised...

What Does Child Support Cover? Part I

Paying child support is a double-edged sword.  Parents are court ordered to pay but have little, or no, say-so on how it is spent day to day.  There are some court mandated requirements governing child support and because I receive many inquires about it, this is part...

Can I lose my inheritance to child support?

Can I lose my inheritance to child support? The question you are asking can also be stated as:  Can the Court award child support based on the money I received in an inheritance? Child support is based on income. It is not based on gifts or inheritances.  For example,...

Should You Ask For a Lawyer?

Asking for an attorney, whether you have committed a crime or not, is not only smart - it's YOUR right.  In spite of news media or the way TV portrays our legal justice system, the right to counsel is one of the most fundamental parts of our justice system.  Every...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or other family law cases. There are two important lists for kids. First is the “do’s” and...

Do I Need a Holiday Schedule?

Question: Do I need a holiday schedule in my parenting plan/divorce agreement? I see this question a lot in my practice, particularly where the parties seem to be working together and getting along well during the time that they are drafting an agreement.  We can work...

How do keep my divorce moving forward?

     This is a common question in my field and it’s one of the most difficult to answer, unfortunately. Divorces can take many paths. The outcome of each case is truly dependant on the parties. So, how can you keep your divorce moving forward...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I have had a number of questions about the process of CWOF, including whether it can be done a...

Re-establishing Parenting Time

In August, I wrote about the Parent that Used to Be Absent.  This is a follow up article to that post about re-establishing parenting time and what to realistically expect when trying to do so. Often I speak with a parent that hasn’t seen their child in a long period...

What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?

This article is part of a series about why it's important to hire an attorney and the reasons behind hiring an attorney.  The purpose of this series is to help you determine the types of situations where a lawyer is most needed and to know when to reach out for...

New Child Support Guidelines 2017 – Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on the new Child Support Guidelines (2017 version).  This section will address the increase to the minimum child support order.  If you missed our previous article, you can find it here, at:  New Guidelines Overview. Increase of...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators Over the past few years, we have seen horrible stories pertaining to children who were abused by either those they trusted or others, whom they felt they could trust.  In recent months, the singer R. Kelly has once again...

West Memphis 3 – Reopening of Original Murder Case

UPDATE April 2020: Oxygen Network aired its long awaited show about this case.  It featured Bob Ruff's Truth & Justice working with famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente and others to re-start an investigation in a manner they believe it should have been done...

​ Can you get a restraining order on behalf of your child?

​As a parent it is our number one job to protect our children. In today's world, with all of the technology, there are more ways than ever for a child to be targeted. Children can be targeted by their own peers, by adults pretending to be other children or by...

Post Divorce Parenting: Helping Your Child Succeed

Life for a child of divorce can feel like a war zone. They often feel torn between two people who have completely different opinions and different life styles. The rules can vary from household to household which leaves the child with a sense of confusion and anger....

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some months ago, Angelina claimed that Brad abused their child and sought full custody of all six...

Divorce: Moving on When Others Won’t

Divorce is rough.  It's an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.  Just getting to the point where a couple decides that divorce is the only solution left is often devastating.  After the dust settles, and the divorce is completely finalized, both parties are...

Who Gets Our Family Dog in the Divorce?

It's a common scenario.  Boy meets girl and they fall in love.  They buy a home or rent an apartment.  Wanting to share their love, they adopt a dog. Over the next year or so, they get married.  Their dog is their baby.  They share photos of him on social media sites,...

5 Appeals Cases To Follow and Why

Although there are a number of high profile wrongful conviction cases in the news, they are still a small percentage of all convictions. The news media would like to have us believe that all police investigations are tainted and that all detectives are on the take...

Parental Alienation: the Aftermath

In a previous article, I wrote about  parental alienation.  It is one of the most vicious things a parent can do to another parent because it can  destroy the relationship between the parent and their child.  That destruction may begin at an early age or later in life...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Social Media and Legal Action

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to a client is to refrain from social media when you are involved in litigation.  Be it a criminal case, a divorce, a restraining order – no matter what type of case, the best bet is always to stay silent.  Clients are often...

What is a CWOF? Continuance Without a Finding

People often ask me "What is a CWOF?" in Massachusetts?  It's a funny term but it's really just an acronym.  A CWOF is a “continuance without a finding.” This is a disposition that is meant for a first time offender, one that has not had a criminal matter in a long...

What is Sole Custody?

Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  What does this mean?  Is it often awarded?  Why? How can you convince the Court to award it to you?  Sole Legal Custody in MA:   In Massachusetts, the Court will award “legal” custody, which refers...

Communicating on Social Media During Divorce

If you have read the news recently, you probably noticed that social media has come under fire for a couple of things.  First, social media outlets have been accused of creating fake news.  Second,  Facebook has been accused of allowing hackers to integrate its system...

Can I Stop Him From Selling Our Home While Child Is Still in School?

Question: My husband moved out of our home two years ago and moved in with another woman. We have guardianship of my granddaughter who will be graduating from high school in 2018. she is going to be going to college after she graduates. My husband said that as soon as...

When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

The son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.  "Your Dad doesn't love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that to us?"  The boy is angered and hurt.  He hugs his mother as she cries.  He consoles her in...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not expect.  For many, being forced to stay in their homes, brought on anxiety, depression...

Five Tips for Attending Court

Often I am asked "what do I wear?" or "is there anything that I need to know about going to Court?" Below are tips for attending Court that I find rather useful. 1. Dress appropriately. It is not necessary to wear a suit or formal outfit to Court. Wear an outfit that...

Can my husband force me to sell our marital home?

This question is dependent on many factors. The very general answer is that the home will be awarded to one party or sold to a third party.  To decide what will happen, the Court will look to the wishes of the parties (who wants to stay in the home?), the ability to...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

Family Law: How to Choose Your Attorney

Your family is the most important thing in your life.  Whether you are facing a divorce or a custody battle or a child support dispute, you want to have the “right” attorney by your side through this very difficult process.  So, how do you decide?   Here are some...

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are separate filings in the Probate & Family Court. It is important to understand the...

Pin It on Pinterest

Read previous post:
What is the Automatic Restraining Order?

When a Divorce is filed, an automatic restraining order on assets immediately applies. This prohibits you, and your spouse, from...

Close