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Divorce and Guardianship of an Adult Child

 Posted on April 22, 2024 in Guardianship

IL family lawyerIt is somewhat common for parents to get divorced during the “empty nest” phase. Once their children have grown up and moved out, parents may realize that they no longer have anything in common. If you and your spouse have a disabled adult child and you share legal guardianship of him or her, you may not experience a typical “empty nest” phase, but you may still find that you no longer want to be married to each other. Raising a child with significant disabilities can put a strain on your marriage. If your child is going to be dependent on you for the rest of his or her life, you will need to address your disabled adult child’s care during your divorce. A DuPage County, IL divorce and guardianship lawyer can help you plan.

Sharing Guardianship of an Adult Child After Divorce 

While parents of minor children need to create a parenting plan, parents of disabled adults who plan to share guardianship should also develop a plan for caring for their adult child together. The plan you create will likely be similar to a parenting plan for minor children. However, your child may or may not live with either of you if you choose to place him or her in a group home or assisted living facility. When planning for co-guardianship, you should consider:

  • Planning visits - If your disabled adult child lives in a residential facility rather than in your home, it is prudent to discuss who will visit the child and when. If you have a contentious relationship, you may wish to avoid accidentally running into each other should you both visit at the same time. 
  • Child support - In Illinois, courts can create support orders on behalf of a disabled adult child who is financially reliant on his or her parents. If one of you will live with your adult child full-time, the other parent may need to make support payments. If one of you has given up your career to be a full-time caregiver, spousal support may also be in order. 
  • The nesting strategy - If your disabled adult child does live with you, you probably have your home set up in a specific way to accommodate his or her special needs. Moving back and forth between two households might be extremely difficult for a disabled adult. Using the nesting strategy, the disabled adult lives in the family home full-time while the parents move back and forth instead. 

You might also benefit from bringing in a mental health worker familiar with your child’s disability when you break the news about your divorce, especially if your son or daughter is prone to hard-to-control outbursts.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Divorce and Adult Guardianship Attorney

Calabrese Associates, P.C. will work with you and your spouse to develop the right plan for sharing guardianship of your disabled adult child. Naperville, IL divorce and guardianship lawyer Michael J. Calabrese has served as chair of the DuPage County Bar Association Family Law Committee and has extensive experience with complex divorce situations. Contact us at 630-393-3111 for a confidential consultation.

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