Divorce is hard on everyone, especially children. If your child is permanently disabled, however, there are special concerns that you need to take into consideration. In fact, there are several common divorce mistakes that can negatively affect your child's future that you should assiduously avoid. If your child is disabled, help protect his or her future by working closely with an experienced family law attorney throughout the divorce process.
Failing to Include a Finding of Disability in the Final Divorce Decree
If your child is disabled, you will likely need to receive child support and medical assistance from your ex far beyond your shared child’s high school years. Including a doctor’s determination of disability in your Final Decree of Divorce can help you avoid future litigation if your spouse later decides that he or she does not want to continue paying support.
Failing to Consider Indefinite Child Support
The State of Texas allows for indefinite child support in specific situations that include:
The child will require substantial care and supervision due to a mental or physical disability indefinitely
The child acquired the disability before the age of 18
The child will not be able to care for himself or herself as an adult
The law addresses the issue with indefinite child support to help ensure that such children receive continued care. Directly addressing the issue in your divorce reduces the chance that you will need to litigate the matter in the future.
Not Taking the Child’s Income into Careful Consideration
If your child is disabled, he or she likely receives governmental benefits, including Medicaid. If, however, in the course of your divorce, you designate some portion of your marital property to be rolled into an account for your child, it will qualify as income for him or her. This income can lead to a loss of benefits and may even lead to a request for reimbursement.
Not Working with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Every divorce is complicated, and it is always in your best interest to work closely with an experienced attorney. If you have a child with disabilities, however, the situation is that much more complicated, and it is imperative that you obtain professional legal guidance. Your child’s ongoing well-being, health, and happiness are likely to depend upon it, and you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing you took the steps necessary to help protect your child’s rights and continued support.