When making child custody and visitation arrangements in a divorce, the courts consider what is in the best interests of the child as a guiding principle. Common factors may include the need for stability in the home environment, the relationship between the child and their parents, siblings and other important people in their lives, school, community and more. Determining the “best interests of the child” becomes more complex when trying to work-out a suitable visitation schedule when it involves a child with a disability.
Visitation Arrangements for a Child With Disabilities
Typically, visitation arrangements for children in a divorce involve alternating weekends between parents and can include extended visits during school holidays and summer vacation. For children with special needs, it may sometimes be better to minimize frequent adjustments to new environments, particularly during the school year. For many children with disabilities, a disruption to their daily routine can affect school behavior and performance resulting in unnecessary stress to the child.
Special Needs Children and Divorce
If parents can work together, it is ideal to opt for longer visits of more concentrated time. Minimizing changes to ordinary routines from household to household, such as setting consistent meal and bedtimes or sticking to a set school pick-up and drop-off procedure, will help children with disabilities adapt more readily. Divorcing parents should strive to minimize last-minute changes to routines when at all possible as even slight alterations can create anxiety for the child involved.
Many children with disabilities participate in social and recreational activities, which are essential to their well-being and development. Parents should work together to maintain their child’s schedule and be flexible with visitation so that their child can participate on a regular basis. Transportation to and from activities may require more coordination between parents for the benefit of the child.
Contact an Experienced Waukesha Child Custody Lawyer for Help
There are many issues to consider when deciding on the best child custody and visitation arrangements for your children. If you are considering divorce and have questions regarding child custody and visitation or child support, particularly when their are children with special needs involved, contact the Waukesha, Wisconsin family law attorneys of Probst Law Offices S.C.