MARC represents and counsels children and families in a variety of special education and disability contexts, including issues with school districts, special-needs estate planning and guardianship.
We provide guidance and counsel in legal challenges faced by children with learning and communication difficulties, behavioral issues, and neurological and physical disabilities. In today’s educational climate, vigorous legal representation of a special-needs child’s interests is a necessity. Our lawyers are well versed in the special-education process and emphasize the importance of early diagnosis as a precursor to identifying appropriate educational and related services.
We assist families through the school district’s initial assessment, negotiate an Individualized Education Program (IEP), ensure the district’s ongoing compliance with the IEP and, where necessary, resolve disputes about the extent and quality of services a district must provide. Although we emphasize cooperation and negotiation, we have the experience to resort to litigation when necessary in the form of a due process hearing in the Office of Administrative Law or state or federal court.
Special-Needs Estate Planning
MARC provides special-needs estate planning services for families with special-needs children and disabled adults. Through trusts, powers of attorney and other means, we work to protect rights and assets and to maintain eligibility for government programs.
MARC represents disabled individuals and their families in guardianship proceedings, both as counsel for the plaintiff/potential guardian and as court-appointed counsel for the allegedly incapacitated individual.
Our practice includes:
- Development/negotiation of a written Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504 plan with school districts
- Dispute resolution through informal meetings with school districts
- Due process hearings through the Office of Administrative Law
- "Fair and appropriate" services for special-needs students, as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Guardianship proceedings
- Initial evaluations from school districts
- Private and out-of-district school placements at the school district’s expense
- Retention of educational advocates/experts for all stages of the special-education process
- Special-needs estate planning, including preparation of special-needs trusts
- Transportation disputes over out-of-district placement
Our recent engagements include:
- Negotiating numerous out-of-district placements, including residential placements, at school district expense, for students whose needs could not fairly and appropriately be met by the district.
- Negotiating home instruction, at district expense.
- Negotiating particularized services for in-district instruction.
- Commencing due process hearings to secure special-educational services.
- Negotiating on behalf of a private special-needs school before the New Jersey Department of Education, resulting in state approval for the school.
Please contact Paul F. Carvelli or Laura A. Siclari for additional information or to request a speaking engagement for your organization.