Special Needs Custody Lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey 

Type of Adoption child holding adult's hand

Special Needs Custody Lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey 

Our firm knows all about the considerations of children with special needs when it comes to the topic of divorce. Our very own Francesca O’Cathain, Esq. has lectured on the topic— a topic close to her heart— extensively, including recently at the American Bar Association Family Law Section Fall Continuing Legal Education Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

Our firm also knows all about child custody— we routinely handle challenging and difficult child custody cases.

And of course, we know Bergen County— which is why this year, like last, we’ve been named as Bergen Magazine’s Top Lawyers. 

So we know what it takes to be a special needs custody lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey. 

If you are divorcing in Bergen County and think you need a custody lawyer to handle a matter that involves children with special needs, please consider the following: 

  • Who is the primary parental custodian and caregiver? If you are about to engage in a custody litigation, it will help you and your attorney to know what type or percentage of custody you’re looking for. In order to do so, you should ask yourself some honest and tough questions: who is primarily responsible for the welfare and safety of the child? Who is the day-to-day caregiver? This can differ greatly from a non-special needs child and may impact what you and/or your attorney decide to fight for. 
  • What is the long-term plan for the child with special needs? Divorce upends everyone’s plans, not the least children— and perhaps no more so than children with special needs. You will need to discuss the strategic long-term plans— for care, finance, education, housing, potential employment and more— with your co-parent and your attorney. Oftentimes a trust, or SNT (special needs trust), separate and apart from the issue of custody, will need to be addressed. 
  • What parenting plan will be acceptable to both parties? In order to potentially avoid a protracted and possibly costly custody dispute, a parenting plan that works for both parties might be negotiated. Be honest with yourself: what are you willing to live with? You want your co-parent to be part of your child’s life, right? How much spousal and/or child support will they— or you— be responsible for and/or comfortable with? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you discuss them with your lawyer. 


So if you truly do need a special needs custody lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey, you may further want to consider: 

  • Is this the right attorney for me? Is this attorney sympathetic to the honest needs of a child with special needs? Are they empathetic with me? Do they understand the intricacies of the law to guide me through this process? 
  • Are we discussing legal child custody, or residential and physical child custody? The authority to make decisions for a child with special needs comes with more responsibility. How much responsibility are you willing to shoulder? With regards to residential and physical, what’s truly best for the child? Is there any possibility of entering into a nesting arrangement—where the children stay in the house, and you, the parents, alternate living at the house. It’s difficult but may be less traumatic for a child with special needs to be shuffled back and forth.


There are a myriad of issues that will come up with regards to divorce, custody and special needs, and it’s important to ask the right questions, especially from the get-go, of both yourself and your attorney. Only then can you find the right special needs custody lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey for you, and for your child. Give Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC a call today.

Are you divorcing in Bergen County, New Jersey, and anticipating a custody lawsuit over a child with special needs? There’s a reason we’ve been named Top Lawyers by Bergen Magazine. We can help. Reach us at (201) 488-1161, and find out more at www.lmllawyers.com .