People with Special Needs

Father and Daughter

The divorce rate among parents with children who have special-needs is high – greater than 80 percent. And the challenges for these couples are among the most difficult.

Parents carry into the divorce equation hopes and dreams for the child’s future. They also sometimes carry their most personal and emotionally charged concerns. But these situations are particularly suitable for mediation. Both parents share common worries about their child’s current and future needs, and their incentive to cooperate is clear.

The professional staff at Heartland Family Mediators offers these parents an array of services, support and referrals intended to address legal, financial, safety and other long-term issues. Using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, we begin by using mediation to resolve the issues of the divorce. Our professionals can address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities or cognitive and neurological diseases. Help is available in the areas of:

  • Educational choices
  • Lifetime employment
  • A safe lifetime living environment
  • Legal issues
  • Access to health care
  • Access to government benefits
  • Access to social groups and fun
  • Management of finances

Priscilla Johnson has a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology/mental health counseling. Priscilla is a mediator, and she has extensive experience in helping individuals with special-needs, as well as families. In addition to her experience in couples and family counseling, Priscilla has worked in a variety of ways with individuals with special-needs, including assisting in securing employment, engaging in social groups/activities for enjoyment and in life-skill development.

Jim Long, a mediator at Heartland Family Mediators, is also an attorney. In Jim’s private legal practice he assists couples in crafting strategies for the long-term safety, care and housing needs of the special child as well as the preparation of necessary legal documents. He also helps parents explore government services that can help them find peace knowing the needs of the special-needs child will not be met at the expense of their siblings.

Jim Johnson is also a mediator. In his practice as a financial adviser Jim assists parents in adopting economic strategies for protecting the future of the special-needs child. Jim uses time-tested tools that assure parents that they have answers to the most difficult questions face special needs parents: How will we take care of our child when we are old? How will we avoid depleting our assets and in effect disinherit our other children? Who will take care of our child when we are gone? – This planning can give parents peace and erase worry even in the challenging situation of divorce.

If you would like to meet with a Heartland Family Mediators professional to discuss your options for special-needs planning, click the box to the right to schedule an appointment. The initial consultation is free.



Heartland Family Mediators

5347 N College Avenue, #109
Indianapolis, IN 46220 USA
Driving Directions


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