If you have either been through a child custody determination process or are currently navigating one, you are likely familiar with the “best interests of the child” standard. This standard tends to govern all decision-making by family law courts as they evaluate child custody matters. However, this standard can be a bit of a moving target. After all, the concept of “best interests” is relative. While some best interests may be determined objectively (ex: children need access to food, clean water, shelter, and an education), others are not so straightforward. For example, one parent may believe sincerely that his or her child’s best interests will be best served by living primarily in his or her household, while the child’s other parent may believe the same thing about his or her household.
It is partially because reasonable individuals may disagree about what constitutes a child’s best interests that judges are often called upon to make child custody and support determinations when parents cannot agree on the terms of such orders on their own. If you have questions about how this standard and/or child support “formulas” seeking out an attorney could help clear up any questions. A law firm will be able to discuss your legal options with you and explore how the “best interests of the child” standard may apply to your child specifically.
If your child has special needs, the process of serving his or her best interests may look very different than a similar process might be for a child without special needs. During a consultation, a lawyer can certainly discuss how those special needs may factor into your situation. You may be concerned about how your child’s specific needs may impact child support. Or you may be concerned about how various custody arrangements may impact your child’s well-being.
Thankfully, the law recognizes that kids with special needs may need to have those needs accommodated in unique ways. For example, some states have a presumption of joint custody unless there is a compelling reason to avoid such an arrangement. If your child’s special needs will not be best served by being shuttled between two households regularly, you may have a compelling argument to make about an alternative arrangement. If your child’s other parent is open to mediation or attorney-led negotiation, we may even be able to settle custody and support issues primarily out of court.
Legal Counsel Is Available
If you have questions about child support generally or child support for a special needs child specifically, please consider scheduling a consultation with a child support lawyer with the firm The McKinney Law Group. Once we can learn about the details of your family’s situation, we will be able to advise you of your legal options and answer any questions you may have about them and/or our approach to representation.
You will not be obligated to take any legal action after speaking with us. A consultation simply helps to ensure that whatever decisions you do make about your child support situation are as informed and supported as they can be.