If you and your spouse have a special needs child and are going through a divorce in New York, you are probably concerned about how you will continue co-parenting your child and meeting all their needs when you are no longer living in the same house. Co-parenting a special needs child requires dedication, preparation and commitment, but you and your spouse can make it work for your child.
Start with a plan
As with any complex child custody situation, you and your spouse should create a detailed parenting plan. Beyond the schedule of when the child will be with each parent, you should include other specific points to help create a map for your co-parenting journey. Some of the issues you should address in your co-parenting plan include:
- How decisions regarding your child will be made and by whom
- How you will communicate with your child’s other parent as well as the team of friends, family and professionals who can help you with your parenting journey
- The way you will keep records of communication between you and your spouse
- How you each will prepare the home environment and work together to make each home supportive and comforting for your special needs child
Communication and flexibility will help you succeed in your co-parenting journey
Being clear about how to communicate, how often and through which tools will help ensure that the lines of communication are always flowing between you and the child’s other parent. As well, both parents need to begin the co-parenting journey understanding that flexibility is required, particularly as your special needs child adapts to divorce.
Finally, do not forget that your health and well-being also matter. Divorce and the demands of co-parenting a special needs child can take a toll on you, so you should also make time to take care of yourself.