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Issues Courts Consider for Custody of a Special Needs Child

 Posted on September 07, 2023 in Child Custody

TX custody lawyerA divorce can be emotional especially when children are involved. But when a child with health or educational needs is caught in the middle of a complex child custody battle, some parents will fight to extremes. Perhaps they are triggered by a misconception that the maternal instinct of a mother will weigh heavily in court and that the mother will get automatic custody. A Texas attorney can help you understand your options and what the courts will look at in these child custody cases.  

Is a Mother More Likely to Get Custody of a Special Needs Child?

Under the Texas State Constitution custody decisions are not made based on the gender of a parent. When the court determines child custody and visitation, it takes a look at what will be in the best interest of the child, whether the child has special needs or not. Therefore, if a father was very involved in the life of his child before the divorce, he deserves to be allowed to strengthen that bond. This could also show the court that he is the better parent to raise his children.

How Does the Court Decide Which Parent Gets Custody of a Special Needs Child?

When it comes to child custody of children with special needs, disagreements can be about everything, from treatments to educational choices. Under Texas law, the court will usually appoint one parent as the guardian or it may appoint a child advocate to represent the interests of the child with special needs. Texas family courts consider the following factors to determine future custody arrangements:

  • Needs of the child, including medical, educational, and emotional
  • Parent's ability to provide emotional and financial support
  • Stability
  • Routines
  • Siblings
  • Access to specialized programs in the area

These are not taken lightly by the court when it decides custody, visitation schedules, and financial support. A child with special needs may need help and supervision 24 hours a day if they have physical or cognitive problems.

 The court understands that in some of these cases, one parent may have to find a job with the same school hours so that the parent can take the child to health care visits and other appointments.

 There are circumstances in which the court will decide that a residential facility may be the best solution for the child. In those cases, the parent’s sources of income including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are also taken into account.

Contact a Travis County Child Support Lawyer

If you are getting a divorce and want child custody of your child with special needs contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC. An Austin, TX child custody attorney experienced in complex child custody cases can offer you knowledgeable legal guidance. Call 512-610-6199 to book a consultation. 


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