Divorce and the Special Needs Child

When Parents with Special Needs Children Divorce

While approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce, the divorce rates for parents with special needs children are even higher. Often, parents have focused so much on their special needs child that they grew apart. Other times parents are so overwhelmed by the stress and responsibility that they don't know how to cope. If you have a special needs child and are getting a divorce, I urge you to contact me at Charles E. Willmott, P.A.

I have over nearly 25 years of experience as a Jacksonville divorce attorney and have worked with parents with special needs children. I am a Board Certified divorce attorney, I have been listed in Jacksonville Magazine's Top Lawyers, and I am BV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®. Additionally, I served as chairman of the Jacksonville Bar Family Law Section from 2003 to 2010.

Best Interests of the Child

If you are a parent of a special needs child, your divorce may not fit the mold of a standard divorce. Divorce is hard enough on families but it can be even harder on children with special needs because they are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. As parents, we have a duty to ensure that our children are protected by a divorce and are treated fairly.

Transitions can be very difficult for a special needs child, especially for children with autism spectrum disorder. A standard timesharing schedule where the child sleeps at one parent's house for a few days and then at the other parent's house for a couple of days can be a nightmare for the autistic child.

In divorce cases with children who have autism, Asperger's syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities, it's vital that the attorneys and judges become educated as to why these children need their special needs addressed when their parents go through a divorce.

Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer

I understand the importance of knowing just how much time and work it takes to care for a special needs child. I will want to know how your child's situation impacts your ability to maintain part-time or full-time employment and how this could affect your opportunity for career advancement in the future. Ultimately, your divorce will need to take into account child support, alimony, child custody, government benefits for your child, and ensuring that your child's needs are appropriately met.

The bottom line is that the best interests of your special needs child need to be addressed by the court while you are going through divorce. However, it will require a team effort to give the court the guidance and tools they need to do so. If I can properly take care of your child's special needs during the divorce, I can give your child the greatest opportunity to be the best they can be in life.

Contact Charles E. Willmott, P.A. to discuss your divorce case by calling (904) 849-5183.

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