When a child has special needs, you know that there are often unexpected expenses waiting around every corner. Many of those needs should be factored into a request for child support so that you — as your child’s primary physical custodian — don’t end up footing an uneven part of the bills.
Here are some of the most commonly overlooked expenses that a special needs child may have:
- Handicapped transportation services: Your child will have to get back and forth to appointments, school, therapy and more — and that requires transportation. Whether you should ask your ex-spouse to cover part of the cost of transport services or modifications to your vehicle depends mostly on your situation.
- Exercise equipment: Many children with special needs require physical therapy. In-home exercise equipment is sometimes the best solution — but it’s prohibitively expensive for many.
- Electronic communication items: Your special needs child may benefit from things like a voice-activated computer, an e-reader, entertainment centers and more that help with learning issues, anxiety, behavior modification and other needs. Negotiating this expense outside of regular support is important.
- Special home adjustments: This may mean everything from wheelchair ramps to special mattresses for your child. Making a home “disability-friendly” can be a very expensive project.
- Home care: You may need respite care from time to time — or simply need a hand managing your child’s daily needs as he or she gets older. Expecting you to pay for the service entirely on your own out of a standard support agreement isn’t fair.
If your child has special needs, know in advance that a standard support agreement is likely to overlook the reality of your situation. It may take some careful examination of your circumstances to really determine how your child’s needs are best supported.