Divorce can be hard on children for a variety of reasons. Parents of young children are often able to reach an agreement on custody and visitation, but if they are unable to do so, a judge will step in. Michigan courts weigh several considerations, including children’s special or medical needs.
What constitutes special and medical needs?
Under Michigan court guidelines, special needs considerations apply to physical, emotional and mental health. Special educational needs also fall under the umbrella.
Traditionally, the parent with legal custody retains decision-making rights. However, both parents can access their children’s medical records regardless of custody status unless forbidden by a court order.
Parenting time considerations for children with special needs
What should divorcing parents with special needs children consider when establishing parenting plans?
- Home transitions: Is it better for your child to live in one home that the parents shuffle between?
- Scheduling considerations: For some people with medical, emotional and mental differences, a steady routine makes a world of difference. If that’s the case in your situation, honor that reality in your parenting time plan.
- Get it in writing: If parents aren’t in agreement about certain aspects of a child’s care, it’s important to negotiate a final decision that the court ultimately mandates.
- When changes are necessary: The ability to add amendments or make changes is crucial. After all, things change — with both socio-political landscapes and daily routines for kids with special needs. What works one year may not be ideal the next. As such, leave room to renegotiate.