Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Divorce mediation can help with issues re special needs kids

Negotiating a Massachusetts divorce agreement is never easy, regardless of how amicable the separation. Not many people can manage to keep their emotions out of it, especially in matters regarding children. Negotiations related to the best interests of special needs children may present a number of additional hurdles. It is not uncommon for divorcing couples in these circumstances to choose divorce mediation.

The severity of the special needs of a child will likely play an important part in any divorce proceedings. Physical limitations may have necessitated changes to the family home, and it will be important to consider how a relocation may affect the child. Transportation of the child between parents may also present problems, and parenting and visitation plans will have to accommodate the child's limitations. Calculating child support is up to the court, but divorcing parents will have to consider the additional costs related to the care of children with special needs, factoring in any financial assistance available from the state.

Parents will have to decide whether both will have input in decisions related to the child, or will one parent be the primary decision maker. Who will have access to the child's progress reports, and will both parents attend evaluative meetings? What happens if one or both parents die? These are but a few issues that may cause additional anxiety for the parents.

Questions are sure to multiply throughout the process. Massachusetts parents of special needs children may find comfort in knowing that the process of divorce mediation provides a platform for cooperation, aiming to achieve mutual agreements that will protect the interests of the child. Each parent is entitled to be represented by an experienced family law attorney throughout the mediation proceedings. 

Source: mediate.com, "Divorce Mediation: The Best Forum for Families with Special Needs Children", Dr. Lynne C. Halem, Aug. 21, 2015

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