Divorce is different for families with special needs children. For the best possible outcome, it is important for parents to work with lawyers who understand the challenges affecting such families as well as the laws pertaining to divorce. 

While California family law courts have guidelines for custody and support, many judges simply are not familiar with the unique circumstances that parents of special needs children face. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to walk a judge through the realities of caring for a child with autism, Down syndrome, a traumatic brain injury, congenital disorder and other disabilities that impair a child’s cognitive or physical capabilities.

Forester Purcell Stowell family law attorneys provide counsel in all areas that need extra attention when special needs children are involved, such as:.

  • Visitation and other unique facets of parenting plans
  • Child Support and special costs associated with a child’s care including necessary medical equipment, therapy, prescriptions, respite care, home/vehicle modifications as well as other unique health care expenses
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Individual Program Plan (IPP) other educational and social decision-making considerations in a divorce decree
  • Adulthood transition issues, including conservatorships, eligibility for government benefits and independent living
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility protections
  • Special Needs Trusts addressing your child’s long-term care

These cases have a special place in our hearts and in our practice. Shareholder and Certified Family Law Specialist Michelle L. Stowell is the mother of a child with autism and devotes a significant portion of her practice toward helping clients who have children with special needs. She gives back to the community through board service with FEAT (Families for Early Autism Treatment).