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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Western Massachusetts Lawyer Handling Divorce Cases Involving Special Needs Children

Divorce is difficult, even when a typical family is involved. When the couple has a child with special needs, the issues become much more complex. At my office, clients receive the benefit of my specialized experience for their divorce cases. As the parent of a special needs child and a woman who has experienced her own family law issues. I know from my own experience you need someone who can be objective and not let the emotion of the moment cloud your decision making. I have a unique insight into my clients' situations and I understand how professional legal counsel serves their interests. I help them understand their rights and why the focus must be placed on the special needs child.

Below are some of the common issues that are raised in the course of dealing with a divorce involving a special needs child. For more information or to schedule a free initial thirty minute consultation, contact me today.

When a couple is dealing with a divorce and they have a special needs child, it is important to keep the child's needs at the forefront of any agreements made. Parents also need to consider how the divorce may affect school, custody and their ability to physically care for the child by themselves before an agreement can be reached.To further discuss your divorce and how to consider the special needs of your child, contact me today.

School Issues

Most special needs children will be on an IEP (individualized education plan) or a 504 plan. These are plans designed to ensure your child receives special education curriculum and specialized instruction tailored to you're your child's individualized educational needs. It is important for divorcing parents to know when a child is on an IEP, the school district does not need the signatures of both parents for school purposes. Even if you presumptively have joint custody, the school district need not consult both parents.

When drawing up a divorce agreement, I help clients choose language that requires both parents to be consulted and have input when school matters are an issue. It is important that there are checks and balances in place so both parents can be decision makers without the other interfering with this right. However, in instances where it is more efficient and appropriate and in the child's best interest to do so to have one parent be a decision maker, we can structure an agreement that reflects this decision.

Physical Limitations

With special needs children come special accommodations. Parents must be able to physically care for their special needs child on their own in order to have a custody agreement or parenting time agreement that meets the child's needs. If one parent is unable to physically care for a child, arrangements must be made, or a custody agreement structured accordingly, to ensure that the child's needs are met. I often put my client's in contact and refer to community resources that can assist in this regard.

Parent Cooperation

In a divorce, parties are often at odds with each other over many issues within the divorce. In situations involving a special needs child, particular care must be taken to ensure that the child is not affected by this. It is extremely important that parents cooperate in order to see that the child's well-being is intact throughout the entire divorce process and afterwards. The focus must be on the child and I work hard to ensure my clients keep themselves focused. While structuring an agreement, I help my clients be open to discussion regarding child support, daycare, medical bills and other expenses.

To learn more about how divorce cases involving special needs children are handled, contact me today. For a free initial thirty minute consultation, contact me. I offer appointments at a location convenient to you.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
1380 Main Street,Suite 302
Springfield, MA 01103
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Phone: 413-315-5518
Toll Free: 877-622-6089
Fax: 413-886-0220
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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 278
Monson, MA 01057
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