Monday, September 16, 2013

The New Child Support Information Paradigm

The new OJCC child support process launched on September first. So far there have been a few questions about how the process works. The new process should save time and money for all involved. It should also provide a greater access to information than we have ever experienced. 

We have progressed from a process requiring two or more requests for arrearage information, faxed in by counsel, and faxed back out only to the requesting counsel. The new process now allows the request to be submitted by e-filing, with no expense. The new process affords response to all counsel involved in the case, by e-service, with no expense. The long distance call by facsimile has been eliminated from both ends of the process.

A lawyer in a case submits a request for arrearage information. Staff in one of our offices will look up that injured worker in a database we built, which contains all of the Department of Revenue arrearage information. You used to request that data from DOR; since December 2012 you have been requesting it from the OJCC.

Our staff will also now look up that injured worker in the Circuit and County Court database. This will provide results from all 67 of the Florida counties. That's right, all of them. In the past, the attorney asked for this information from up to two counties, the one in which the injured worker lived when the accident occurred, and the one in which the injured worker lived when the settlement was effectuated. 

The scope of information searched is therefore broader under this new process. 

When we respond to provide you with this information, it is through the e-JCC e-service program. The response is on the OJCC case docket. The response is served electronically on all the attorneys in the case. A single e-filed request from any party generates a response with more information and it is served on all the attorneys involved in the case. 

The old process was more expensive for the attorneys (each counsel that wanted the information faxed their individual request to the DOR and at least one clerk). The old process was inefficient because responses from the clerks and DOR only came back to the requestor, so each attorney filed their own requests. The old process was inefficient for the DOR and the clerks, with them each individually looking up the same injured worker and with each of them responding to the individual requestors. The old process cost the state money faxing these multiple responses to these multiple requestors. 

The new process has brought us a long way and provided efficiencies and savings for all.  

Last spring, we had a couple of attorneys present a CLE for our judges and mediators. Glen Weiland and Karen Gilmartin collected perceptions and ideas from many attorneys, and presented the "View from the other Side of the Bench." One of the complaints/suggestions they brought was that this blog is not accepted by all as an information source. They tell me that some business offices have restrictions on internet use that does not allow access to this (and perhaps to any) blog. They suggested a "frequently asked questions" alternative. We have followed-through on this suggestion. There is an "FAQ" link regarding child support on the site now.  

Visit it here, or access it from the front page of the website. 

A similar FAQ section on carriers and petition filing is in the process and coming soon. 

I appreciate the suggestion(s) and am proud of the progress we are making. The child support process innovation helps everyone in the system. Tell us how we can innovate further to serve you. 

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