According to the March 29, 2012 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, about one in eighty-eight American children has autism spectrum disorder, making autism more common than previously thought. Extensive behavioral therapy—not always covered by insurance—often leads to improvement in mild cases of autism. Unfortunately, during a family law action, parents of a special needs child may feel forced or pressured to cut back on expenses related to the health and education of their special needs child. However, California courts are required to make orders to pay some or all of a special needs child’s reasonable uninsured health care costs. Courts also retain the discretion to order a parent to pay some or all of the costs related to a child’s special education needs, which are considered to be “additional child support” and which can be ordered in addition to basic child support. Either parent may ask the court to make these orders. The CDC’s March 29th report noted that 40% of the children in the study were not diagnosed until after age four. If a child develops special medical or education needs during a pending family law case, or even after a judgment has been entered, it may qualify as a basis to seek a modification of child support to include these new expenses. Feel free to consult Salick Family Law Group to determine whether your child qualifies for these additional child support orders.
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