Family relationships can be complicated. Not every parent remains in his or her child’s life, which can complicate matters when the child has a disability or special needs. This can create financial issues too, especially if the other parent is absent but still living and the child’s eligibility for benefits is impacted as a result. Fortunately, an experienced Baton Rouge special needs lawyer will be able to offer guidance and advice so that you can create the best plan for the care of your child. Such steps may include:
Finding out if the other parent is alive or not. It’s entirely possible for one parent to be unaware of whether the other is alive and healthy. As far as estate planning goes, if the absentee parent has died, they may have left an estate to which your child is an heir. This can affect your estate plans, as well as your child’s eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and expected contribution to their housing.
Finding out if the other parent has a trust or plan in effect. While it may not be very likely, it’s possible that the absentee parent felt responsible for the child and created a trust even without you knowing. It can help to find out the type of planning that was put in place to ensure that it was created with your child’s special needs in mind.
Working with the other parent’s lawyer to create or change a plan, if possible. Your Baton Rouge special needs lawyer cannot directly work with an unrepresented person, but he or she can work with the absentee parent’s attorney so the two of you can create a comprehensive special needs plan without having to sit down and work together. If you’re not looking forward to a reunion, this may be an option.
Working with the other parent’s lawyer to decide on guardianship issues. In Louisiana, when one parent dies or becomes incapacitated, the court would prefer to keep guardianship in the family. While the courts don’t simply hold biology over all other factors, if you don’t want the absentee parent becoming the guardian, a special needs lawyer can advocate on behalf of your child for a more appropriate guardian.
Note that your special needs lawyer cannot compel the other parent to become involved with his or her adult child or to create any sort of inheritance or trust. It’s not a pleasant thought at all, but there is a real possibility that someone stays away because they want to stay away. A Baton Rouge special needs lawyer knows the particular laws involved, but likely cannot force the other parent to do something they’re not willing to do and not obligated by law to do.
It’s never too early to start planning for your child with special needs. In the case where one parent is gone, planning can become more complicated. Our Baton Rouge special needs lawyers can help you plan for your child’s future and prepare for any surprises or disappointments if the other parent won’t be or isn’t expected to be involved. To schedule an appointment, simply call our office at (225) 744-0027.