Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

When you are divorcing with a special needs child you need all the help that you can get. Divorce is a difficult process at best, and divorce with a special needs child is even more complicated — financially, emotionally and logistically. Although it can be difficult to remember your own needs when you have a child that requires so much support, caring for yourself is the beginning of coping. “Caring” is a verb that describes more than a one-time effort. It’s not action movie heroism, it’s strategic kindness and day to day attentiveness that carries you through the difficult times. Caring for yourself and your child in a divorce with special needs requires the right kind of interventions to set a good course for your future. The benefit of using mediation in your divorce means you can be more flexible and precise in your negotiations and your plans for your future.

Why Divorcing with a Special Needs Child is Different

Parents of special needs children know that raising a special needs child is different. Your child will always need care to some extent. Because of this, the co-parenting relationship is different, both financially and emotionally. All divorces with children require co-operation between divorcing partners (if possible), but this is particularly true in parents of special needs children. Mediation provides a forum where you can design your future and your child’s future co-operatively (if co-operation with your co-parent is an option). Mediation can help you address any of the following issues:

Child Support that Doesn’t End

Child Support is legally required up to the age of 18, but special needs kids require financial support far into the future. At BCS we combine legal, financial and psychoanalytical expertise to help craft solutions that take into account the intricate financial concerns of parents of special needs children. Long-term planning for child support with special needs kids can be complex, involving calculations of both parents’ future income and financial cover to support the child’s primary caregiver (if there is one primary  caregiver). One parent’s income or job prospects can be affected by the commitment, or they may need financial support to pay for care or cover time to take holidays and care for themselves.

Government Benefits

Parents with special needs children will be aware of government benefits and the need to plan accordingly. In mediation you can work with your co-parent to refine your approach, which could mean deciding how much parents should contribute in line with the services and benefits available.

Estate Planning

When you have a special needs child it’s especially important to make contingency plans in case you pass away. Divorce mediation can involve discussions over estate planning, which will be more complex as you may also be dividing your assets with your spouse and funding a special needs trust for your child.

Burden of Care

In many but not all cases, the special needs child has a primary caregiver. When you have a special needs child, deciding how care will be divided is an especially sensitive process. One parent may want to be more involved but their schedule and career may prevent it. If you worked together as a unit while you were married you may need to be especially mindful of how dismantling your relationship affects the division of labor between you and your co-parent. At BCS we use game theory and psychoanalytical tools to identify individual interests and locate mutual benefit.

Emotional Issues

The sacrifices of caring for a special needs child can be emotionally draining. When divorce is involved, emotions can be especially high. Mediation is a space where emotions are equally as relevant to the process as finances and logistics. We use psychoanalytical and mathematical tools like attachment theory and communication theory to help you clarify emotional issues in a safe and accepting context.

Who We Are and How We Can Help

We are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. We can either confidentially present you with a private analysis, or mediate the conflict with both of you until resolved. Any resolution you come to will be informed by a deeper analysis of the conflict that can be psychoanalytic and/or more financially-focused. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, which adds value to the overall estate, benefiting you both. The sooner you can resolve your conflict, the sooner you can begin to craft a sustainable future for you and your children. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives. We can intervene to break litigation deadlocks when divorces are already underway. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. You can visit us at our offices in Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

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