State family law courts are beginning to support the idea of joint 50/50 child custody more and more. In these arrangements, children divide their time living with each parent half of the time. Many children adapt well to these arrangements and enjoy spending as much time as they can with both parents, but other children may have difficulty with this kind of schedule.
From a purely logistical perspective, for example, a child with special needs may require one home base. For example, a child with a severe disability may need to have special equipment at home to ensure his or her health and well-being. Perhaps the parent needs to modify the home so it’s accessible to the child. While two homes could be modified, health insurance is not likely to pay for such additional modifications.
A child with special psychological needs, on the other hand, might benefit from the having just one home base. If parents find that the child experiences panic attacks, fear and extreme anxiety when spending the night away from his or her primary residence, then overnight visitations might be out of the question.
There is also the question of whether both parents are properly trained and capable of offering special care to the special needs child. If one parent is the primary caretaker in this kind of situation, the court will probably seek to maintain that parent as the primary caretaker.
Are you going through a divorce that involves a special needs child? It’s important for you to consider the unique requirements of your child when constructing your parenting plan and child custody arrangements.