Court Won't Allow Child's Settlement Money to Be Withdrawn to Be Used by His Mother

Case: D.J.T., III an infant v. Grenadier Realty Corp.

Court: Supreme Court, Bronx County, New York

Date: 7/13/12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens accident attorney)

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Facts: This is an interesting decision for a not uncommon situation. By way of background: an accident victim under age 18 is considered an "infant." When an infant's case is settled, a judge must approve the settlement, and the money must be locked away in a bank account until the infant turns 18 years-old. (Sometimes, arrangements can be made at the time of the settlement -- with the judge's approval -- to invest the money in a safe financial instrument until the infant is even older than 18.)

So the settlement money sits in a bank account and waits for the infant (child) to come of age. What happens when an infant's case settles and money locked away, the infant is under 18 years-old, but the family needs money?

The infant's money can only be touched or withdrawn with a judge's permission. A family that wishes to use its child's money must try to get a court order giving it the o.k. to do so. This is such a case.

In this case the settlement was small, a little more than $3,800. At the time that the mother seeks to take some of the money, there is a bank balance of almost $5,000. The mother tells the Court that she wants to withdraw $1,800 to buy her child clothes and video games.

Held: Mother's request to use her child's settlement money is denied. It is the mother's obligation to buy her child clothes and food, etc. and support him. She can't use his money to buy these items for him. The video games and such are not "necessities" that the child must have.

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