Working through a New York Divorce Mediation with a Special Needs Child

Divorce can be a highly emotional and stressful process.  However, this process can be even more difficult when grappling with how it will impact a special needs child.  New York divorce mediation is an alternative to expensive litigation that impacts an already strained budget.  Due to its ability to fashion a tailor made agreement, New York divorce mediation may be able to address and resolve the following issues. 

Parenting Plans

Special needs children have unique needs and challenges.  A parenting plan should not simply conform to one that involves children without these characteristics.  Both parents should be educated about the child’s needs and be in contact with care providers who are in a unique position to explain how the transition can be easiest for the child.  The parenting plan should take into consideration doctor’s appointments, physical therapy and special education classes.  Additionally, the parenting plan should consider how a medical crisis can be planned for and what steps will be taken if one does occur.  The parenting plan should also discuss how medical decisions will be made regarding the child, such as by having a medical service provider weigh in. 


Raising a child with special needs is often expensive.  In many instances, one parent provides care for the child with a disability while the other works outside the home.  Spousal support may be necessary to maintain this type of arrangement.  Additionally, child support is often awarded at a higher amount when the child has special needs.  Options regarding various types of medical insurance should be fully explored.  Given these unique circumstances, some parents establish a Special Needs Trust to provide for the child’s needs and maintain his or her quality of life.  Mediation can address all possible options so that the parents can reach an amicable agreement and protect the welfare of their child.

The foregoing are two of the major issues to be addressed when divorce involves and affects special needs children and within each of these larger issues are smaller more detailed issues that are unique to each family.  Discussing and resolving these in court could take months and sometimes years, and when children are constantly growing and their needs are changing, being able to respond to those changes and needs more quickly may be of great concern. 

In a New York divorce mediation, meetings and sessions can be scheduled at the convenience and time when it is best for the parents and the children, instead of waiting for the availability of the already overburdened courts.

The law offices of Sabra Law Group, PLLC have worked with couples in mediating divorces with special needs children.  To explore whether mediation is right for you and your family, contact the office at 646-472-7971 now.

Comments are closed.