Divorce is always difficult, for parents and children alike. But when a child has special needs, the difficulty only increases.

As divorce rates and rates of child disabilities increase, so does the urgency for parents to continue meeting the needs of their special needs children after the marriage has ended.

Attorney Michelle L. Stowell is dedicated to meeting this need. An experienced family law attorney and the mother of a child with autism, Michelle understands the circumstances children with special needs and their parents face. She assists divorcing parents in obtaining parenting plans and other post-divorce childcare solutions that make sense for their unique circumstances.

California courts are known for being progressive, but even they have yet to fully adapt to the changing circumstances of modern families with special needs children. Forester Purcell Stowell attorneys will guide you in drafting an effective and beneficial parenting plan, as well as negotiate with your spouse for custody and visitation terms that benefit your child and protect your parental rights.

Many judges simply are not familiar with the circumstances that parents of special needs children face. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to walk a judge through the realities of a condition like autism, Down syndrome, a traumatic brain injury, congenital disorder and other disabilities that impair a child’s cognitive or physical capabilities.

When necessary, we can educate your judge regarding your child’s condition and circumstances and litigate persuasively on behalf of your collective needs. Our goal is to ensure you receive terms that are appropriate for your family, not just a “typical” family with “normal” children.

Many special needs children require familiarity and have great difficulty in transitioning between homes. Likewise, many special needs children require therapies or must attend special programs that are administered during the day. Often, one parent’s schedule may better accommodate those events, or one parent may be required to stay home and care for the child full-time. Also, many special needs children encounter circumstances that require quick decisions.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree on a decision for your child, Forester Purcell Stowell family law attorneys can seek an order granting one parent as the final decision-making authority. Our goal is to ensure your child’s greater need for stability, familiarity and/or supervision is considered appropriately in any parenting plan.

All children benefit when parents make decisions jointly while working to minimize hostility and animosity. Michelle Stowell is a family law mediator who can serve as a neutral third party in mediations, or as a facilitator in negotiations between divorcing spouses. As a California Bar-certified family law specialist and member of the Sacramento Collaborative Law Practice Group, she is familiar with the practice of collaborative law. Unlike more common models of negotiation and litigation in which divorcing parties work against each other to achieve individual goals, collaborative law encourages them to work together to achieve shared goals.

By resolving conflicts collaboratively, many divorcing couples with special needs children find they retain greater control over their lives and their children’s lives, while conserving money, time, energy and good will they can better spend on improving the lives of their children. Let us help you reach that goal.

To schedule a consultation with a Sacramento attorney about parenting plans for special needs children, contact us online or call 916 293 4000.