Entertainment Love and Romance Special Considerations in Deciding Custody of a Special Needs Child Tips and Considerations for Special Needs Custody Cases Share PINTEREST Email Print Sam Edwards/Getty Images Love and Romance Divorce Relationships Sexuality Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Debrina Washington Family law attorney and writer University of Pittsburgh School of Law Skidmore College Debrina L. Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. our editorial process Debrina Washington Updated February 18, 2017 Choosing a suitable child custody arrangement becomes more complicated when you're talking about the well being of a child with special needs. It can be especially difficult for single parents who lack adequate financial resources and family assistance. Here are some important and unique factors that come into play in custody cases for special needs children. Needing to Understand the Child's Special Needs Parents of a child with special needs and their attorneys must first understand the child's condition or disability. Before beginning the custody determination, parents and attorneys should: Speak to the childSpeak to parentsSpeak to health care officialsSpeak to school officialsConsult public resources and gather information on the child's needs Considering Unique Factors for Children with Special Needs There are several issues that must be considered when considering which parent should maintain custody of a child with special needs. Deciding factors are: Level of communication between parentsAvailability of child care resourcesMental and physical health of the child and the parents -- some children's needs are so extensive that a parent may not be able to handle it on their ownChild's current adjustment to a new home, school, community or religionChild's ability to adjust to a new home, school, community or religionMedical care available for the child Another point that will need to be considered is time. Managing a child with special needs can be very demanding and will require more time and resources from parents. Single parents and their legal representatives will need to weigh all of these issues before determining custody.