While I haven’t had to deal with this issue, I still feel it needs to be addressed. Why? A lot of couples with special needs children are under additional stress. Sometimes this stress causes their relationship to deteriorate, and they both start looking for a way out. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about divorce. The laws vary between states, so even if someone gives you correct information, it still may be incorrect if they live in a different part of the United States.
The best overall resource I’ve found is: http://www.womansdivorce.com/
It has a comprehensive list of the laws for each state. While it does include contact information for lawyers, it doesn’t push you into talking to a lawyer to get the information you need. This would cover most people, but the mothers I speak to on a regular basis have the additional difficulty of also caring for a child or children that need medical care above and beyond what it normally takes to care for a child. Many of them can’t be placed into your average daycare. Frequently the mother doesn’t work and has no income due to the child’s medical needs. For them, I also recommend the additional resources below.
- Apply for SSI – Work with your pediatrician to help you collect the required records.
- Apply for Medicaid – Medicaid eligibility is separate from SSI eligibility in some states. You can be eligible for SSI and not Medicaid and vice versa, so apply for both.
- Request child support and report them if they’re not paying
- Request alimony and report them if they’re not paying
If the divorce is amicable, it’s reasonable to ask for something before going before the judge to demand it. However, if that isn’t effective I highly recommend against letting your good nature get in the way of getting the money needed to provide for your children. If it takes a wage garnishment, then so be it.
I want to continue building on this page. Please, if you know of more resources, leave a comment below and share them with others.