Legal Issues

Legal issues can come up from time to time in life. When there is a child with a disability in the family, legal issues like divorce, custody, guardianship, and trusts must be handled with careful consideration of the child and how they will be affected.
It is important for parents to know about some legal situations that could affect their child with disabilities.
These concerns include guardianship, finances, and services.
  • Will they be on their own as an adult or will they need a guardian to take care of them and help them through adult age?
  • Should they have Special Needs Trusts to protect money for their future needs?
  • What types of accounts can they save money with and not have it affect benefits such as Social Security (SSI) and Medicaid?
This section will help you to better understand some of the legal issues your child or young adult may face and how to plan for their future.


Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

The Arc of the United States
Provides fact sheets, webinars, and a lot of other information on public policy for families. The Arc works to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families on the federal level through public policy efforts. Many local chapters are available.

Special Needs Alliance
This is a national nonprofit organization of member attorneys who work regularly with planning for special needs. The site has up to date content and a “search for an attorney” tool.

Guardianship Associates of Utah
Provides education for families on guardianship issues. The site includes written materials, kits, presentations, and a referral service; can help families represent themselves in lieu of hiring a lawyer.

Office of Public Guardian, Utah
Provides public guardianship and conservatorship services to incapacitated adults.

Disability Law Center, Utah
A nonprofit organization designated by the Governor to protect the rights of people with disabilities in Utah. A good resource for people who are having legal problems where their rights as a person with a disability have been violated.

Planning Your Child's Future
An explanation of a special needs trust by the Pacer Center.



See all Guardianship services providers (9) in our database.

Legal Services, General

See all Legal Services, General services providers (34) in our database.

For other services related to this condition, browse our Services categories or search our database.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial Publication: June 2008; Last Update: December 2018
Current Authors and Reviewers (click on name for bio):
Author: Chuck Norlin, MD
Reviewer: Gina Pola-Money