Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Get My Child Support Changed When I Can’t Afford An Attorney?


I was in the hospital for depression while my divorce went through court. Since I could not make the court date, my ex lied about my income and said I was making $70k when I didn’t even have a job. We were divorced a long time ago, and I know I should have taken care of things as soon as I was released from the hospital, and I wish I had, but I didn’t.

What’s my best option? Although I’m working now, I really can not afford an attorney, let alone the child support. She has also refused to let me see my son for the last two years. Any information would be appreciated. I know I did wrong by not taking care of things right away. I’m trying to fix all of that now.



The laws of your state will dictate whether you may return to court now on these issues or if there is a waiting period that must expire before you may return to court.   If you have a court order for visitation, you are entitled to obtain enforcement of that order independent as to whether support is current.  Enforcement may be possible through local law enforcement or may require further court proceedings.


As the failure to address the technicalities of the waiting periods for revisiting these issues and the calculations for child support can be fatal to obtaining adequate relief, you should at least consult with a qualified domestic relations attorney for a few hundred dollars to determine your options.  Once you know your options and the issues, you can assess whether you should pursue the matters without an attorney.   You may be eligible for representation by a legal assistance program in your area depending upon your income.


Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 

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