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Pro Bono Net's LawHelp Interactive Helps South Carolina Parents in Child Support Cases Software Saves Time and Removes Barriers to the Judicial System

Thursday, February 20, 2014

  • Organization: Pro Bono Net

For Immediate Release

February 20, 2014

Pro Bono Net                                   

 

CONTACT:

Karin Romans, Pro Bono Net

212-760-2554 x496 |kromans@probono.net

 

Pro Bono Net's LawHelp Interactive Helps South Carolina Parents in Child Support Cases

Software Saves Time and Removes Barriers to the Judicial System

 

South Carolina (February 20, 2014) - A partnership between South Carolina Legal Services, the SC Center for Fathers and Families from the Office of Child Support Enforcement and Pro Bono Net is helping parents quickly start or modify child support orders, improving access to justice for parents who otherwise could not afford an attorney.  The partnership leverages Pro Bono Net's LawHelp Interactive platform to standardize and automate court documents.  LawHelp Interactive (LHI) is a national online document-assembly solution focused on increasing access to justice.

The LHI forms have been shown to shave as much as three months off the time it previously took parents to create pleadings. With the ability to create court-approved forms on their own, parents are able to take control over their cases. To highlight the benefits of LHI's technology in South Carolina, Pro Bono Net produced a case study that illustrates the improved outcomes for litigants and reduced costs for all parties.

In South Carolina, non-payment on child support places parents at risk of receiving contempt citations and criminal sentences. "Low-income and no-income parents face a huge threat of going to jail for nonsupport," says Andrea Loney, Executive Director, South Carolina Legal Services. Now the system works for the whole family, parents are able to create better pleadings faster, keeping them out of jail and child support going to children who need it.

Adds Loney, "Collaboration between courts and legal nonprofits is more essential than ever. Working together, we have created a better way for those facing child support issues to move forward. Those without lawyers are struggling to preserve their rights on their own. Without easy-to-find online tools that are designed with their needs in mind-they flounder. It is not just about technology, it is about community. This project is opening the doors to those who need to apply or modify child support here in South Carolina."

In addition to highlighting the benefits the technology affords South Carolina?s parents and children, the study emphasizes the advantages of LHI's technology to courts and legal services organizations. LHI's technology ensures that forms are complete and correct, allowing for better customer service at a lower cost.

"Everyone's looking for a way to do more with less," says Pat Muller, Information Technology Manager for South Carolina Legal Services. "We're using LawHelp Interactive to do just that."

To fund their effort, the South Carolina partners sought Title IVD funding from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, allowing them to standardize and automate court-approved forms.

Pro Bono Net operates LawHelp Interactive in partnership with Ohio State Legal Services, and together they have received generous support for this work from the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Innovation Grants program, as well as from the HotDocs Corporation.

Glenn Rawdon, Program Counsel for Technology for the Legal Services Corp. says of the project, "This is a perfect example of legal aid groups working with other non-profits and funders to develop projects that improve access to justice with easy-to-use, uniform forms as the cornerstone."

A copy of the case study is available here.

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About Pro Bono Net

Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged.  Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved.  Our comprehensive programs, including http://www.probono.net, http://www.lawhelp.org and http://www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives.  For more information, please visit http://www.probono.net.

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