Between January 2017 and August 2018, the county council paid £163,750 to legal firms fighting special educational needs and disability (SEND) cases on its behalf.
It is understood that these disputes relate to education, health and care plans (EHCPs), which are required before a child can attend a special needs school or receive extra funding.
The council said it reaches agreements with the majority of families who complain about EHCPs, although in some instances the cases go through a legal process.
Louise Hunt, who spent £17,000 on lawyers in her battle to get a plan for her son, said: “It’s so exhausting.”
Her family was plunged into debt as a result of her fight with the council and she eventually decided to represent herself.
She added: “There are no words to describe the journey.
“When you are sleep deprived and facing challenges at home, it’s so easy to think ‘I just can’t fight anymore’.
“Most people don’t have the time or energy to read up on the law.”
Mrs Hunt, aged 42, said some parents cannot afford to pay for legal help.