Two years ago, the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome made it hard for Sheila Miller to file child support documents at the Bibb County Courthouse.
The daily task of stamping every page of 40 filings with a case number and date wasn’t just painful. It was time consuming as well, she said
But the process changed in 2007 when the Bibb County Superior Court Clerk’s Office was chosen as a pilot office for a new, easier program that allowed clerks to electronically file the child support documents with a few clicks of a mouse.
Based on Bibb County’s success, the program now is being used in Chatham, Douglas, Jefferson, Oglethorpe, Fulton and Clarke counties, according to the Judicial Council of Georgia.
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Washington County also was a pilot for the program in 2007.
Bibb County was chosen because of its size and child support case traffic, said Rory Parker, a spokesperson for the state Administrative Office of the Courts.
The E-file system allows clerks to import information from pre-existing documents and files instead of re-keying the data and physically stamping the documents.
Miller said the new filing system doesn’t make her perform as many of the same repetitive tasks that used to aggravate her carpal tunnel syndrome. She’s also undergone surgery to treat the condition.
“It’s a big time saver,” Miller said. “And it gets more of the cases into court.”
Dianne Brannen, the county’s clerk of Superior Court, said her office used to limit how many child support documents could be accepted each day.
“Now we’re able to stay current,” she said, adding now there’s no limit on the daily filings.
Miller said the new system also saves the clerk’s office space where the paper filings used to be kept. Now the files can be printed from her computer.
Judges also can access the files from their offices without making a trip to the clerk’s office, Brannen said.
“It seems like a good thing all the way around,” she said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.