Parenting is never a straightforward undertaking because every child is unique, and every family’s circumstances are distinct. However, there are some unquestionably challenging realities that parents of kids with complex medical needs face that other parents don’t.
Statistically speaking, it is much harder for the parents of a child with a serious medical diagnosis or disability to remain together than it is for the parents of healthy kids to make things work. As a result, many parents of special needs kids find that they need to construct custody agreements after they’ve decided to end their relationship that take into consideration their child’s conditions and needs.
Tailoring a co-parenting approach to reflect the situation
In most custody agreements and parenting plans, co-parents focus on crafting a workable schedule to divide parenting time and holidays/special occasions. They may also add in terms related to transportation between households, virtual visitation and extracurricular involvement. Co-parents of medically complex kids need to dig deeper and reach wider when crafting these agreements in order to better reflect the needs of their child.
For example, does it make more sense for whichever parent has the child at the time to be responsible for taking them to medical appointments and staying with them if hospitalization becomes necessary? Or would you need to craft unique language based upon the fact that one parent largely handles your child’s medical needs while the other works two jobs to support the financial realities of the child’s condition?
There is no single “right” way to construct a parenting schedule. If you have a child with complex medical needs, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance to better ensure that your parenting agreements reflect your child’s needs in manageable, enforceable ways.