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Orlando Victims' Families Enter Disputes With Each Other

Earlier this week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that $350,000 will be given to the families of each victim killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre. As the newspaper notes, however, it may be a long while before the money is actually dispersed.

Disputes have begun to arise among surviving family members, and they are taking legal action to establish their rights to the compensation. "We are already involved in a Battle Royale between competing claimants who want the money," said the administrator tasked with distributing the funds. "Biological parents versus same-sex partners, divorced spouses demanding they get the money to the exclusion of the other spouse, siblings of the dead coming in claiming that a parent was absent."

The administrator estimates that more than half the victims' families may end needing to settle matters in court.

Where There's Money, There's Litigation

The payouts come from the OneOrlando Fund, which was established shortly after the tragedy with the intention of providing financial relief to victims and their families. Since its inception, the fund has accumulated more than $29.5 million, drawing on support from more than 120,000 donors in 120 different countries.

Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, where there is money, there's often litigation. And given the complications inherent in the situation, even families with uncontested claims may have to wait for compensation.

As the mother of one victim said, "The probate court is telling me it'll be a year or two before it's through their system. I have to prove to the court that I'm the personal representative, that I paid for the funeral, that [my son] doesn't have kids out there."

A Template For The Rest Of The Country

Nevertheless, OneOrlando's efforts to compensate those affected by the massacre are admirable, and will provide a great deal of relief. Its process for determining payment was transparent and thorough; the community's reaction to the tragedy has been, at every step, carefully and appropriately conceived.

"I think that the collective number of the dead and the injured and all the family members shows us the true impact of this tragedy," said a OneOrlando board member. "Now that this is done, I think, regretfully, we have an example that the rest of the nation can follow."

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