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How do the courts made decisions on custody of a special needs child? I just left my husband of 9 years. We have a 6 yr old son

Saint Petersburg, FL |

He was diagnosed when he was 2. I have been always been the one who has taken/(partciapated) him to his therapy appointments, doctor appointments, school etc. I want our son to live with me, with me being the Primary Custodian, and he can go to his dads every other weekend. He does not handle change well at all, and any minor change will cause huge tantrums. His dad wants us to have a rotating schedule. Husband and I had several mutual friends, but the all of them were friends with me first, then became friends with him through me. All of these people are willing to come to testify on my behalf. Since these people were friends with me first, will the judge even take their testimony into consideration, or will they be considered "bias"?

I know I need an attorney but, I just spent a ton of money on moving into a new place, and I won't have a retainer for a couple of weeks. In the meantime I want to prepare, and gather everything that I need to so when I go see an attorney I can see what my chances are in getting the schedule that is best for my son. Neither of us have filed for divorce yet, I'm trying to hold him off until I have the $ for an attorney. We both left the marital home (which was rented). I moved into my own 2 bedroom house, and he moved in with family members (2 adults, and 3 other children).

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The courts consider that a child needs both parents. With a special needs child, his therapists and doctors will be the most important, particularly his therapist in talking about change. Divorce is a change, and there may need to be some additional work with the therapist to help him handle the change. It may or may not include the schedule that either you or your husband envision, or it may be something different altogether. Your friends' testimony may have some value, but it will be the professionals that will have the most weight. You have a variety of options as to how to approach this, and you will need to discuss those with our attorney. You will most likely be required to have a mediation before going to court, so talking to your child's therapist and doctor's about what is going on and having some suggestions from them is a good idea before you go see your attorney.

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  2. I agree with my colleague's answer. Since your spouse wants rotating schedules it seems he will be somewhat flexible when it comes down to finalizing the timesharing. Feel free to contact either attorney Morcroft or myself.

    Gina Hunter


  3. My colleagues have provided you with sound advice. The main point, in all of this, is doing what is best for the child. You need to discuss with his doctors and therapists what will be in his best interests and develop a transition plan that will work for the child. Given that the father wants a rotating schedule, it seems as though he is willing to be flexible. You will certainly need an attorney's assistance to advocate for your position with your dissolution and custody issues. Good luck.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.


  4. custody decisions are based upon the overall best interests of the child, per Florida Statute Chapter 61. Contact my office for free consultation.

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