Any tips on convincing a judge to allow the use of the initial payment from a structured settlement of a minor?

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Any tips on convincing a judge to allow the use of the initial payment from a structured settlement of a minor?

We understand the reasoning behind a structured settlement of a minor. The bulk of her money will be paid out while she is 17-22 and will be used to start her future. However, due to the nature of the injury the whole family has missed out on some work and fun activities. We would like to be able to do some things with her that we could not normally provide since she is suffering now, not later. Before the paperwork was drawn up we were told that the initial payment would be able to be used for what we saw fit but the papers say we need court approval for anything! Please help.

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Personal Injury, Alabama

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is one you should discuss with the lawyer who represented you on the settlement.

Judges are very protective of injured children and their settlements, and for good reason. Particularly where money is tight, parents have a tendency to want to dip into what seems like an almost inexhaustible pot of money to "make things more comfortable for the child" -- such as a family vacation. This can leave the child's resources depleted.

Very often when the case is settled some portion of the settlement explicitly goes to the parents to cover some extra costs they have incurred and will incur going forward.

If nothing went to the parents here, and the parents had extraordinary expenses -- such as hiring a contractor to build a wheelchair ramp or install an elevator for the child, or needing a special vehicle to transport her, or requiring nurses or therapy not otherwise paid for, demonstrating the expenses, and making those points might make a judge more willing to allow money to be released.


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