After entry of a divorce or custody decree, parents will often utilize the services of a parenting consultant to assist with ongoing conflicts that arise. The consultant, usually an experienced family law attorney or social worker, is given whatever authority the parties agree. The aim is to remain out of court, and keep costs down.

Adopting a child with special needs in Minnesota is like adopting any other child, with a few differences. Five things you should know about special needs adoption include:

1. “Special needs” can refer to a variety of issues – Special needs children waiting for adoption may have mental, emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities. MN Adopt considers sibling groups in the “special needs” category, as well. Before adopting, consider the nature of these and determine whether you have the parental skills and the financial and logistical abilities to accommodate those needs.

2. Diverse factors cause challenges with child development – Special needs children may have been neglected or abused; or exposed to chemicals or drugs in prenatal development. They may have a genetic disorder. If abused, their abuse may have been emotional, sexual, psychological, or physical, or a combination of the above. Identifying the root cause of the challenges can help you and your family adapt and nurture the child effectively.

3. You may qualify for expense reimbursement from the government – In some cases, a family adopting a special needs child may be eligible to receive reimbursement for certain non-recurring expenses.

4. Waiting lists tend to be shorter – Many adopting parents don’t feel they are equipped to handle special needs. As a result, the waiting list is generally shorter for special needs children.

5. Support groups abound to help you and your family – These groups welcome adoptive parents and provide resources to help families with special needs. To find one, Google [your child’s special need] + “support group” + [your local town]  (example: “autism support group in Minneapolis”).

Are you and your family excited to open your hearts to a little boy or girl who could benefit from your love and care? Consult a family law attorney with the Brown Law Offices at 763-323-6555 for a private case consultation.

When the dust settles from your divorce, you may find new problems on the horizon. As lawyers, we work very hard to draft a parenting time schedule that is concrete and detailed to avoid any ambiguity or need for interpretation. Inevitably, however, parenting conflicts arise. Enter the parenting consultant (or parenting time expeditor) if you and your ex can’t resolve your dispute.

A parenting consultant is part mediator and part arbitrator. They can listen to parents and facilitate discussion, but also possess decision-making authority. Most are experienced family practitioners or child psychologists who work primarily in the area of parenting dispute resolution.

Parenting consultants offer the following benefits:

  • Good decisions;
  • Fast decisions; and
  • Cheap decisions.

Most parties agree to employ a parenting consultant as part of their divorce decree and appreciate the ability to turn to someone with decision-making power with a simple phone call (try doing that with a judge) in the absence of ongoing legal fees. Most agree that the decision of the consultant is binding and may only be modified with an appeal to the court within 14 days from the decision. Parties typically split the cost of the consultant.