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How Does Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Work?

The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court is a department under the Massachusetts Trial Court with jurisdiction over probate and family-related cases. Some of these cases include:

  • Divorce
  • Separate support 
  • Paternity 
  • Child support
  • Child Custody
  • Parenting time 
  • Adoption
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Abuse prevention
  • Alimony
  • Annulment
  • Child requiring assistance (CRA)

The court also handles probate-related matters, including wills, estates, trusts, conservatorships, guardianships, and name changes.

The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court have 14 divisions, each having court justices appointed by the Governor with approval from the judicial nominating commission and the Governor’s Council. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts justices do not have a fixed term; instead, the judges may remain in office until the compulsory retirement age of 70. Judges must be under the age of 70 and must also be citizens and residents of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, all judges must be members of the state bar members in good standing; and must have some years of legal experience and training.

Massachusetts judges may be removed through any of these three ways:

  • With the Governor’s Council’s approval following a joint address of both houses of the general court. The Governor, with the consent of the Governor’s council, may also retire judges because of advanced age or mental or physical disability.
  • Following a formal hearing, where the commission investigates complaints of judicial misconduct, the commission may recommend the removal, retirement, or reprimand of a judge to the supreme judicial court 
  • Impeachment by the house of representatives and conviction by the senate

Interested persons may access Massachusetts Probate and Family Court records unless the records have been sealed or expunged. The records are available at the clerk’s office during business hours (8:30 am - 4:30 pm). Also, limited information about these cases is available online or on the public access computers located in the clerk’s office of each court. The records available online via eAccess include:

  • Change of name managed
  • Domestic relations custody, support, and parenting time
  • Domestic relations
  • Domestic relations/other
  • Equity—partition
  • Equity complaint
  • Equity petition
  • Estates and administration
  • Guardianship managed
  • Joint petition
  • Paternity managed 
  • Paternity in equity
  • Probate abuse/conservator managed
  • Probate other
  • Wills for safekeeping

The addresses and contact information of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court are listed below:

Barnstable Probate and Family Court  

3195 Main Street, P. O. Box 346, Barnstable, MA 02630 

This court serves all towns and cities in Barnstable County.

Telephone: (508) 375–6710


Berkshire Probate and Family Court  

44 Bank Row, Pittsfield, MA 01201 

This location serves all towns and cities in Berkshire County.

Phone: (413) 442–6941


Bristol Probate and Family Court  

40 Broadway, Suite 240, Taunton, MA 02780 

The Bristol Probate and Family Court serve all the towns and cities in Bristol County.

Phone: (508) 977–6040


Brockton Probate and Family Court  

215 Main Street, Brockton, MA 02303 

This court serves Abington, Brockton, Bridgewater, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, and Whitman.

Telephone: (508) 897–5400

Dukes Probate and Family Court  

81 Main Street, P. O. Box 237, Edgartown, MA 02539 

The court serves all the towns of Dukes County.

Phone: (508) 627–4703


Essex Probate and Family Court  

36 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970 

This court serves all towns and cities in Essex County.

Phone: (978) 744–1020


Fall River Probate and Family Court  

289 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720 

The Bristol Probate and Family Court in Fall River serve all the cities and towns in Bristol County.

Phone: (508) 672–1751


Franklin Probate and Family Court  

43 Hope Street, P. O. Box 590, Greenfield, MA 01302 

This court serves all towns and cities in Franklin County.

Telephone: (413) 774–7011


Hampden Probate and Family Court  

50 State Street, P. O. Box 559, Springfield, MA 01102 

This court serves the towns and cities in Hampden County.

Phone: (413) 748–7760


Hampshire Probate and Family Court  

15 Atwood Dr., Northampton, MA 01060 

This court serves all the towns and cities in Hampshire County.

Phone: (413) 586–8500


Lawrence Probate and Family Court  

2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA 01840 

The Essex Probate and Family Court in Lawrence serve all cities and towns of Essex County.

Phone: (978) 686–9692


Middlesex Probate and Family Court  

208 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 

This court serves all towns and cities in Middlesex County. Effective May 4, 2020, the Middlesex Probate and Family Court opened in the Lowell Justice Center, creating two locations for the operation of the Registry, Probation, and Judiciary. 

Phone: (617) 768–5800


Nantucket Probate and Family Court  

16 Broad Street, 2nd floor, P. O.Box 1116, Nantucket, MA 02554 

This court serves Nantucket county.

Phone: (508) 228–2669


New Bedford Probate and Family Court  

505 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 

The Bristol Probate and Family Court serve all towns and cities in Bristol County.

Phone: (508) 999–5249


Norfolk Probate and Family Court  

35 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA 02021 

This court serves all towns and cities in Norfolk County.

Phone: (781) 830–1200


Plymouth Probate and Family Court  

52 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA 02360 

This court serves all towns and cities in Plymouth County.

Phone: (508) 747–6204


Suffolk Probate and Family Court  

24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114 

This court serves Boston, Brighton, Charlestown, Chelsea, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Revere, Roslindale, South Boston, and Winthrop.

Phone: (617) 788–8301


Worcester Probate and Family Court  

225 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608 

This court serves all towns and cities in Worcester County.

Phone:(508) 831–2200

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