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Should I try to get a public defender for my child support case?

I have a stupid ex that thinks because our 15 years old wanted to live with him he wants costody and I should now pay child support. Well he owes over$6,000 in arrears. I will be damned if I pay him a dime! I have always taken care of our son. Sticky situation on this one. I ask any mother with any similar situation please respond. I cant afford a lawyer should I try for a public defender or tuff it out with hiring a good lawyer? Either way I have 20 days to respond to a summons. Help please! Kathy

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Asked by KBailey713 at 8:25 AM on Dec. 20, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (9)
  • Really depends on the state & town you're in. If your public defenders office is overworked then get a private attny. If they are prosecuting jaywalking then go public.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 8:28 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • A public defender tries criminal cases. If he is behind on child support you shouldn't need a lawyer to get him into court. You need to call the county clerk's office and ask what you need to do to have him brought in on unpaid child support. Whether or not you hire a lawyer you will need to be certain you bring documentation proving that he is so far behind on child support. I think he will have a hard time making a case that he is a better parent when he has refused to pay.

    Answer by Marwill at 8:30 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • You will have to do whatever the court tells you that you have to do. If you are ordered to pay support and don't pay it then you are subject to whatever punishment your state has including jail time. In Indiana if someone is more than $1K behind they can't get a tax return, register a car, buy or sell a car, can't keep lottery winnings, ect. Since he is so far behind you may be able to have him arrested, what I think the other person means by 'brought in'. Hard for him to get custody if he is in jail.

    The court takes the wishes of teens into account. Even if he wants to live with the other parent for stupid reasons there is a good chance he will get to. You can waste a lot of money for nothing.

    Answer by Gailll at 8:43 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • i would do what i needed to do... i am a mother whos oldest child is by a differnet man then my husbends( thank god i met my husbend) and i have never had an issue like yours but like i said i would do anything.... Is he a good man?

    Answer by froggymommaof3 at 9:08 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • What will probably happen is you and your x will get "shared parenting"....where you split time with the child. I was always told in court that child support and custody/visitation are seperate issues. I would get a private attorney if at all possible. Push the back child support and maybe he'll back off.

    Answer by robyann at 10:20 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • Get an attorney. Every state has different laws. I would suggest that if he wants you paying child support, he needs to pay the $6000 he owes you or you call it even.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 12:05 PM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • I'd talk to a Legal Aid Lawyer to respond to the documents. You don't have to use them for the case but if you don't have the money for a private attorney it would give you a legal representative who will get the immediate job done until you decide. Don't put it off. That 20 days will creep up on you quickly and he wins by default if you don't comply and respond. Keep in mind holidays are coming up too so offices will be closed. Call someone tomorrow. You can call some family attorneys for fee quotes.

    Answer by admckenzie at 4:53 PM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • Like someone else said, a public defender is for criminal cases.  I know that legal aid in our county will give you a consultation and help file the paper work.  I would start by researching family laws in your state.  Educate yourself and contact legal aid. 


    Answer by dawnjohnson5 at 1:37 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • You don't need an attorney to change custody or to file a motion for arrears in child support. If he's the one who filed than he is the one who has to pay for the court hearings. Be prepared to tell the judge that the only reason your ex wants custody is because he owes you more than $6000 in back child support.
    My ex wanted custody of our son when he was 16 years old - 3 months later my son was back with me.
    What you can do is counter file for the back child support - once again he can be made resposible for court costs.

    Answer by PrttyMstng at 6:50 PM on Dec. 22, 2009

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