Your child may be entitled to compensation if they suffer injuries from someone’s negligent actions. When a child is awarded a settlement after a personal injury lawsuit, someone is appointed to manage it until the child reaches a certain age. In most cases, while the child is a minor, control of the settlement funds goes to the parents. This quickly becomes more complex when parents are separated or divorced. Usually the responsibility of the personal injury settlement money defaults to the parents. The person who is considered the primary parent, where the child spends the majority of their time, is usually the parent responsible for the money. It’s important to keep in mind that the court is always making decisions in the best interest of the child and that the money ultimately belongs to them. For a parent to be able to access the child’s money, they must get permission from the court.
When a Child Receives a Settlement
When a child is awarded money from a personal injury settlement, it is often dispersed into two payments. Often, there are financial losses as the result of an injury which could include medical expenses and legal fees. The first disbursement of money often takes care of these expenses. The next payment, is put in a trust account for the child. This second portion of the settlement is to pay for damages and to cover any additional expenses that may be incurred in the future from the personal injury. The money is usually released to the child once they are of age. At that point they have full access to the settlement.
Whether parents are married or divorced, they are responsible for holding the money and making decisions regarding the best interest of the child. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their child. In some cases, the court may step in to protect the child’s settlement by regulating the amount of access a parent may have to the settlement.
Meeting with practiced family lawyers or child custody attorneys Phoenix AZ trusts may be of value to you if you are left with questions around your child’s personal injury settlement. They will be able to provide you with invaluable information regarding your fiduciary responsibility. Be sure to ask the attorney you meet with questions around their experience so you can decide if they are the right fit for you.
Thanks to our contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into child custody and personal injury cases.