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How are special needs children affected by divorce?

Every child custody case is difficult for the parents and the child. When the child has special needs, there is an extra layer of difficulty that is added to the already trying situation. One area that can be challenging when a child has special needs is the education decisions for the child.

What laws help to protect special needs children's right to an education?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 helps to protect the rights of special needs children and their parents. This act is a federal act that is often complemented by state laws that aim to do the same. While these laws don't necessarily have an impact on the terms of a divorce, knowing the child's rights and the parent's rights can help during the child custody process.

How are educational decisions make for a special needs child?

When the child custody agreement is made, it should include provisions about who will make the education decisions for the child. This might be one parent or it could be both parents. It is important that the responsibilities of each parent are spelled out as clearly as possible so that everyone involved with the child's education knows what to expect.

Many special needs children have an Individualized Education Plan, which can also set the stage for the child's education. Making sure that you know how the child custody agreement and IEP come together can help you to determine what stand to take on matters related to your child's education. It can also help you to learn what points should be included in the child custody agreement so that your child can get the education he or she deserves.

Source: LD Online, "Divorce: It Can Complicate Children's Special Education Issues," Carolyn Anderson and Beth-Ann Bloom, accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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