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Four Tips for Developing a Parenting Plan if You Have a Child for Special Needs


Are you a parent of a special needs kid or teenager? You are far from alone. The Pew Research Center estimates that 12 percent of schoolchildren nationwide are classified as “special needs” by the federal government. If you have a special needs child and you are going through a divorce or separation, it is crucial that you have a customized parenting plan that effectively protects your rights and your family. In this blog post, our Houston parenting plan attorney highlights four tips that you can use to develop a shared parenting arrangement if you have a child with special needs.

Background: What is a Parenting Plan? 

A parenting plan is a detailed agreement created during a divorce or custody case that outlines how parents will share responsibilities and time with their children. Along with other things, it includes provisions for custody, visitation schedules, decision-making rights, and other aspects of a child’s upbringing to ensure both parents remain actively involved. The plan is legally binding and it helps to prioritize the child’s best interests while providing a clear framework for co-parenting.

Tip #1: Develop a Detailed Time-Sharing Schedule (Try to Limit Transitions)

 If you have a child with special needs, it is a best practice to create a comprehensive time-sharing schedule that minimizes transitions between homes. Doing so helps to provide stability for your vulnerable child. Along with other things, you should detail exact pickup and drop-off times and locations. Limiting transitions can reduce stress.

 Tip #2: Consider Unique Health, Educational, and Day-to-Day Needs 

A child with special needs requires specialized consideration. Parents should tailor the parenting plan to address the specific health, educational, and daily living needs of your child. Along with other things, parents in Texas should include provisions for:

  • Medical appointments;
  • Therapy sessions; and
  • Special education services.

 Tip #3: Be More Conservative With Adjustments to a Child’s Routine 

When it comes to adjusting the parenting plan, opt for a conservative approach. Frequent changes can be disruptive and confusing for a child with special needs. Establish a protocol for making necessary modifications—such as a requirement for mutual agreement.

Tip #4: Emphasize Communication and Dispute Resolution

 Communication is key for parents who are divorced or separated. It is especially important for parents who share a young kid or a teenager with special needs. Parents in Texas should incorporate strategies for ongoing (proactive) communication and effective dispute resolution. You should develop a plan for providing regular updates regarding the child’s progress and needs. Further, parents should develop a plan for resolving disagreements—such as mediation or joint counseling.

Contact Our Houston Parenting Plan Lawyer for a Confidential Consultation

At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Houston family attorney has the skills and experience to help parents negotiate effective shared parenting plans. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your completely private, no obligation initial consultation. From our Houston office, we help clients negotiate parenting plans throughout Southeast Texas.



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