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Orlando Family Lawyer > Best Special Needs Child Custody Lawyer In Orlando

Best Special Needs Child Custody Lawyer In Orlando

Embarking on the challenging journey of divorce is undoubtedly a taxing endeavor, but the complexities intensify when a special needs child is involved. The emotional and logistical demands of co-parenting post-divorce weigh heavily on devoted parents, who bear the profound responsibility of ensuring their child’s well-being amid the dissolution of their relationship.

The stress and emotional toll of child custody arrangements are further magnified when considering the unique needs of a special needs child, requiring parents to navigate a delicate terrain. In the context of Orlando, Florida, where legal nuances may come into play, it’s crucial for parents to understand that child support and custody for special needs children extend beyond the typical age limit. Florida’s law stipulates that if a child’s mental or physical incapacity began before the age of 18, child support doesn’t automatically terminate at adulthood or college graduation.

Parents undergoing Orlando divorce, must proactively plan for life-long caregiving and seek legal counsel, including consultation with a special needs child custody attorney in Orlando. This involves careful consideration of financial and protective services for the child as they transition into adulthood, emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making and documentation to secure the best possible future for the special needs child.

If you are searching for the best Orlando special needs child custody lawyer near you, contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. at 407-574-6155 for a free consultation.

Are Custody Requirements For Special Needs Children Different?

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Child custody requirements for special needs children in Orlando may differ significantly from those of a typical custody case. Special needs children often require more specialized care and attention, creating intricacies in the parenting plan and visitation schedule. The unique challenges associated with caring for a child with special needs may prompt adjustments to the custody arrangement several times over the course of their life, ensuring that the child’s specific requirements are met depending on what challenges and goals they meet as they age.

The noncustodial parent might be obligated to provide additional financial support to cover the costs of essential therapy or medical treatments tailored to the child’s condition. Navigating these complexities requires the expertise of an experienced family law attorney, who can offer guidance and ensure that the best interests of the special needs child are diligently protected throughout the custody proceedings. It underscores the importance of seeking legal counsel that understands the nuanced considerations involved in special needs child custody cases in Orlando.

How Is Custody Determined With Minor Special Needs Children?

Just like in all other child custody proceedings, when determining custody for minor special needs children, the focus is on the best interests of the child. This means deciding what custody arrangement will best promote stability and routine for the child, which is crucial for their happiness and mental well-being. In many special needs child custody cases, joint physical custody may not be optimal due to the need for consistent care of the child.

If parents cannot reach an agreement on custody terms, a judge will intervene and look at certain factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Factors influencing the judge’s decision include:

  • Caregiving roles each parent has played
  • The child’s daily care schedule
  • Each parent’s proximity to essential services like school and healthcare providers,
  • Accessibility and safety of each parent’s home, especially concerning physical impairments
  • Each parent’s capability and willingness to provide full-time care
  • The child’s own preferences, if they can be reliably expressed.

Each special needs child custody case is evaluated individually in an effort to recognize the unique needs of the child and the circumstances of the family involved. These cases can be complicated which is why we recommend contacting an experienced Orlando special needs child custody lawyer near you.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Child Support For A Disabled Child In Florida?

The transition to adulthood for a special needs or disabled child may not mean the end of child support payments. Careful consideration and planning, extending beyond the customary preparations, are made for special needs children that have reached the age of majority in Florida. The concept of “disability” under Florida common law remains somewhat ambiguous but typically aligns with the Social Security Administration’s guidelines. This is in an effort to provide support for adult special needs children that unable to take care of themselves. Special needs can range on a spectrum of conditions that impact the individual’s ability to function day to day by themselves. These conditions typically involve:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Sensory Impairments, such as deafness or vision impairments
  • Various health conditions

Florida Statutes § 743.07(2) acknowledges that additional support for a special needs child may be necessary, and therefore extend beyond the age of 18. This is only if they are dependent on parental or guardian care due to a mental or physical incapacity that occurred before reaching the age of majority. While parents aren’t typically obligated to pay child support for adult children, exceptions are made for special needs adult children, recognizing the ongoing financial and caregiving responsibilities involved in supporting individuals with special needs.

How Is Child Support For Special Needs Children Calculated?

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Given the unique circumstances surrounding child support for special needs children, in some instances, a parent may be required to cover the entirety of the financial support necessary for the child. In some cases, they could be required to pay up to 100%. Special needs child custody support payments are meant to include any expenses related to the child’s special needs care. Child support arrangements in Florida for such cases involve considering financial factors that may not be present in other child support cases.

Since each special needs child support case is different, there’s no predetermined amount mandated by Florida courts. Instead, to determine the amount of child support that will need to be paid, the court evaluates various factors including:

  • The child’s age
  • Specific needs of the child, including specialized care services
  • Medical needs and costs of the child
  • The financial capacity of each parent
  • Any extraordinary healthcare or educational expenses related to the child’s condition

If one parent has primary physical custody or legal guardianship of the special needs child, the other parent may be mandated to provide financial support. This obligation is only required if the child’s disability began before reaching the age of majority, which is 18 in Florida.

Florida courts look at these factors with the intent to ensure that minor and adult children with special needs receive necessary financial support and care they need. Consulting with a knowledgeable special needs child custody attorney in Florida, like Sean Smallwood, can help parents navigate the child custody agreements and parenting plans while keeping the child’s best interests in mind.

Contact an Experienced Orlando Special Needs Child Custody Attorney Near You

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If you are searching for the best Orlando special needs child custody attorney near you, contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. at 407-574-6155 for a free consultation.

When navigating child custody and support, especially concerning a special needs child, seeking legal representation from a special needs child custody attorney in Orlando, like Sean Smallwood, is crucial. Child support cases for special needs children are inherently complex and can create significant amounts of stress for all parties involved. If one parent holds primary physical residence rights for their children, the expertise of a specialized special needs child custody attorney becomes particularly invaluable.

Sean Smallwood, as an Orlando special needs child custody lawyer, offers legal assistance throughout the child custody process. From providing essential legal advice to gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses, Smallwood ensures comprehensive representation for his clients. He knowledgeably negotiates visitation schedules, facilitating smooth transitions between homes and creating parenting agreements that prioritize the child’s well-being and best interests.

Whether you’re seeking clarification on parental responsibilities or aiming to modify a child custody order, Smallwood’s legal knowledge and experience in child custody ensures informed guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. In emotionally charged special needs child custody determinations, the support of a seasoned attorney is key to a positive outcome. Entrusting legal matters to a capable advocate like Sean Smallwood can make all the difference in securing a favorable outcome in special needs child custody agreements in Orlando.

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