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I can't afford a lawyer. What can I do?

Danville, KY |

My ex-husband is in another state and over $2,150.00 behind in child support. According to KY law (he was served divorce papers when he was still living here, and there is a set amount ordered in the decree) he is past Felony and expedition range. He does work a full time job but is refusing to pay. I filed a case with the child support services but our county office literally has one case worker with files stacked half way up the wall in her office. I've seen it. It's horrible and discouraging, and I have no hope that they are working on it. I work a full time job, but have been struggling to raise these kids and it is getting harder everyday! I can not afford a lawyer. How can I get the legal system to act without having to pay for a lawyer!?

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Attorney answers 2


You have a number of limited choices, and none are perfect. You may attempt to contact a law school near you and seek engagement for representation by a family law clinic, if you qualify. You may seek referral from the county courthouse where you case was filed for pro bono assistance with child support, and/or a referral from the state/local/and/or family law bar association. You may attempt to contact the county child support office and a case worker in the state and county where you ex-husband lives and attempt to record and enforce the foreign (that is what an out-of-state judgment is called) child support judgment in that county via telephone and the mail. You may attempt to enforce the judgment yourself through attending a pro se litigant's clinic in the county in which the judgment was issued. You may solicit low-cost and/or pro bono services from lawyers in your area. And, you may attempt to engage an attorney for collections on the child support judgment under a contingency fee agreement, because even though it is unethical in almost all states to represent a party pre-judgment of divorce for a contingency fee, many states allow the collection of judgments (even child support judgments) under a contingency fee arrangement. The potential contingency fee attorney could be from your state and/or the state your ex-husband lives in. This may seem a tough way to go, but then you're asking an attorney to do work for you, and providing him/her an incentive. $2,150 may seem like a great deal, and I validate on your budget it is, but in the child support arrears world, it is a drop in the bucket. Hope this helps. Good luck.


Contact the child support enforcement department of your local prosecutor's office and ask the to start a reciprocal support enforcement action( URESA ). This may help you get the child support flowing.

The answers provided are for informational purposes only and shall not be considered legal advice on your specific fact situation. If you would like information specific to your particular fact situation, please feel free to contact me directly.

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