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Conflicted about your child’s special education needs?

Divorce can complicate special education issues. While you and your spouse used to get along; one thing upon which you always disagreed was how to address your child’s education. Now, you have two homes and two different opinions about your child’s educational needs, and you no longer get along with the each other.

Divorce can complicate special education issues, because both parents may need to sign off on things like the Individual Education Program team’s plans. When you can’t agree your child is left with no plan.

What can you do to make special education issues less damaging to your child during divorce and afterward?

You and your spouse will need to agree on a parenting plan. Your parenting plan should include, among many other things, your process for making decisions about your child’s education.

You and your spouse should try to reach an agreement on the best plan for your child going forward. For example, you may agree that you have to agree to the IEP plan, but if you cannot agree then you can give the IEP team the right to be the tie breaker. Usually, that will be in the form of the parent’s pledge to follow the IEP team recommendation, should the parents be unable to reach an agreement.

In addition to the particular IEP plan, you will also need to determine what particular school you child should attend. If you simply cannot come to an agreement, Arbitration is a relatively fast way to get final resolution to such a decision, without the need to pour thousands of dollars into a court action to modify your previous order.

There are several ways to resolve disputes, but the one that usually results in the least conflict and lasting arrangements are those that you reach by agreement, such as in mediation. The most important factor in any decision having to do with your child is the same whether you reach it by agreement or a Court gives you its decision and that is – “What is in your child’s best interests?”. Differences in opinion will always exist, but if both parties can focus on the child’s best interests and take their needs or wants out of the equation then there is room for a positive outcome for the child.

Regardless of what decisions you make, they are always subject to change as your child matures and his or her needs change.