Custody of Special Needs Children
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What Is Child Custody?
Child custody refers to instances where an adult assumes legal responsibility of a child. This often relates to legal proceedings such as divorce or legal separation, although child custody can occur in other contexts as well.
Child custody can be legal, which entails assuming responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the child. It can also be physical, which refers to the parent with whom the child is staying with at the moment. In some cases, a parent can have both legal and physical custody. In most cases, the primary parent has legal custody, while physical custody alternates according to a visitation schedule.
What Are Special Needs Children?
Child custody may apply differently when it comes to special needs children. Special needs children are those children who have unique medical, mental, or emotional health issues that require special attention. For instance, the child may have a physical disability that affects their mobility. This can be of concern when it comes to physical custody of the child.
Or, a child may have an emotional or mental condition that requires them to take medications. In such cases, additional medical care and attention may be needed when supervising the child.
How Does Custody of Special Needs Children Work?
In any child custody determination, the decisions are made with the child’s best interests in mind. This is especially true in the case of special needs children. When determining custody of special needs children, the court needs to ensure that the child’s needs will be met. Thus, they need to consider factors such as:
- Whether each parent is capable of providing care for the child
- The ability of the parent(s) to provide medical care for the child
- Whether the child is subject to special orders or instructions from a doctor
- Ensuring that the child has proper access to property (i.e., wheelchair ramps, etc.)
In some cases, the child may require a special caregiver to be present during custody sessions. In other cases, the court may appoint custody to a designated guardian in the event that neither parent is deemed fit or capable of caring for the child.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Special Needs Custody?
Child custody determinations are major decisions and generally require the assistance of a lawyer. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help resolving a custody determination. Your attorney can review the laws in your area to determine what your rights are in terms of custody. In addition, if you have any specific questions or disputes that involve special needs children, your attorney can help address those as well.
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Last Modified: 04-09-2014 10:02 AM PDT
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