A child may receive financial damages in a personal injury lawsuit, if they have been the victim of a serious accident that resulted in an injury. Undergoing the personal injury process can be challenging, especially when the person who was harmed is your child. It can be hard to manage the care and recuperation of your child while gathering the information needed to have a successful case. When a child receives an award from a personal injury claim, the parents are likely to manage it until their child reaches a certain age. This becomes much more convoluted if the child’s caregivers are either divorced or separated.
The Custodial Parent
In most cases, the parent responsible for managing an award of a child is the parent with custody. The primary custodial parent will be the recipient of the settlement if parents have joint custody of the child. In some situations, it may not make sense for a parent to manage the money. In situations such as this, the court may decide to allocate a non-primary custodial parent to award the money to. In doing so, court is upholding their duty to protect the best interests of the child. Regardless of who is responsible for managing the settlement, it’s important to know that the parent who is chosen to do this is charged with acting on the child’s behalf.
Fiduciary duty is when a person is responsible for another’s property or money and must manage it responsibly, always keeping the person’s best interests at the forefront. When a parent assumes responsibility of a child’s settlement, they assume fiduciary duty. This applies regardless of whether or not the parents are married or divorced. In order to protect the best interest of the child, the courts may decide to place restrictions on the level of access a parent may have to the settlement.
When a Child Receives Compensation
There are often two parts to a personal injury settlement when a child is the recipient of an award. The initial installment will cover crucial monies that have resulted in financial loss to the family which includes: legal expenses and medical bills. The last installment is usually compensation for pain and suffering and any future medical expenses that may occur in the future. In most cases, this last installment is moved into a trust for the child that cannot be accessed unless it is requested by the courts or the child reaches the age of 18. In most cases, once a child reaches adulthood, they will be granted access to the money and assume responsibility for it.
If you find that your child has received a personal injury settlement and you are divorced or separated, you may have many questions around who will be responsible for the award. A family lawyer such as the family attorney Tampa FL locals turn to will be able to help provide you with information or legal counsel with how your rights may be impacted.
Thanks to authors at The McKinney Law Group for insight into Family Law.