Travers & Travers

How does having a disabled child affect custody in Texas?

Going through a divorce, especially when children are involved, can be difficult. It can be even more difficult if you have a child with a disability.

Children react in many different ways to the divorce of their parents. It may affect a child with a disability in a different way than it affects other children.

If you have a child with a disability and are considering divorce, you have more to consider than usual. Here are some things to think about.

Can having a child with a disability affect custody arrangements?

According to Texas law, child custody is called conservatorship, and the parent who has custody is called a conservator. The court presumes that divorced parents will share conservatorship as long as that is in the best interest of the child.

Here are a few examples of when the best interest of the child comes into play:

  • If you are the primary caregiver to a special needs child, you will likely continue in that role and be granted conservatorship.
  • If your child has a disability, he might need to attend a special school or receive special care that is not available where one spouse resides. In this case, conservatorship would likely go to the parent who can provide the special care that is required.
  • One spouse may work full time or travel frequently for work and not be able to adequately care for a special needs child.
  • One spouse may move frequently, which would disrupt the arranged special care for the disabled child. The best interest of the child would likely be to live with a spouse who has a stable home environment.

Can having a child with a disability affect child support?

Depending on your child's disability, he may require extra care. Many times that extra care is not covered by insurance. If this is true in your situation, you may be entitled to additional child custody funds.

Can having a child with a disability affect visitation?

Texas courts believed that each parent should have a good relationship with their children, and encourage parents to share as equally as possible the custody of those children.

However, your disabled child may require constant care that makes traveling to your ex-spouse's home difficult, or he may find it difficult to navigate your ex's home in his wheelchair. In these instances, visitation would have to be adapted to suit your child.

And that's the key to managing a divorce when you have a special needs child - keeping his needs and what is best for him front and center. When that happens, you will know that you and your ex-spouse are on the right path to co-parenting.

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Katy, TX 77450

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