Divorce mediation is beneficial to almost all couples, but it is perhaps most beneficial to families with a special needs child. Emotions in these situations run especially high: one or both parents may be particularly concerned about how the financial and logistical changes of divorce can have serious consequences for a special needs child.
In addition, parents may not agree on what the child needs. But almost certainly, the financial and emotional strain of a protracted legal battle is not the answer. The truth is that mediated divorce is the best way to ensure a healthy and happy future for a special needs child. When divorcing parents agree to use a child-focused divorce mediation process, real progress and tenable agreements can be made.
Focusing on the short- and medium-term
A divorce mediator with special needs experience will ensure that the mediation process includes significant focus on the medical, educational, social and emotional well-being of the child. This includes both short- and long-term living arrangements as well as financial planning to ensure future care. When appropriate, the mediator will place particular focus on creating an agreement as to how different types of medical decisions will be made.
Making plans for the long-term
Some special needs children will need care and support throughout adulthood, and the mediation process can lay the foundation for that. Divorcing parents of children with severe disabilities may need to plan for their child to have housing, social security benefits, and ongoing care, even beyond the lifetime of the parents. While traditional divorce agreements frequently do not address these issues, a mediated divorce agreement can create a framework plan to ensure that both parents are working towards these important goals.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.