This is the first installment in a number of articles which are based upon my book Special Needs Planning: A Simple Guide for Families in New York with a Loved One with a Disability published by Graylake Publishing and released in the third quarter of 2014. It is a response to inquiries from family members and those who support them about how best to provide for a loved one with a disability.
1. PURPOSE OF THE ABLE ACT. On December 19th of this year, President Obama signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The bill, approved by the Senate on December 16th with a 76-16 vote, is considered the broadest legislation to help people with disabilities in nearly a quarter century since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill passed the House earlier in the month with a final vote of 404-17
The summer of 2010 may be remembered as the “Historic Summer of Legislation” that will forever change how family law is practiced in New York State. New laws became effective October 1, 2010 which represented the most major change to family law since the law of “Equitable Distribution” took effect in 1980.
Caring for a loved one with a disability can be overwhelming at times. Care givers spend much of their time dealing with the immediate. To truly provide for a loved one with a disability, the care giver must deal with the future: they must develop a “Vision for the Future.”
The vision need not be precise; indeed, in the early years in the life of a loved one it is impossible to see his or her future with great precision. Nevertheless, a care giver must envision what a loved one’s life will be like as he/she transitions from early childhood to teen years; from teen years to college or job; from living at home to living in a group home or in the community; from relying upon the primary care giver to securing outside supports.
In a divorce or separation, collaborative law can be used to resolve all issues including financial and parenting. The essence of collaborative law is for the parties and their attorneys to sit down together at a table to reach a reaosnable resolution of their issues. Both parties and their attorneys sign what is called a “Participation Agreement” which, among other things, states that the lawyers must disqualify themselves from representing their clients in any litigation. The parties also agree to provide early voluntary disoclosure of all information that a reasonable decision maker would need to make an informed decision about each issue in dispute.