Programs and Court Services
"Strengthening Families through community
The Hampshire Probate and Family Court has developed partnerships with a number of legal and community groups to service the families of Hampshire County. Strengthening families, building community and promoting equal justice
to all citizens are central to the programs of our Court. Click on a link below to learn more.
Children (Parent Ed for never married parents)
For the Children (Parent Ed for Never-Married Parents)
This national award-winning educational program has been available since the
Fall of 2005 to serve the children of never-married parents. This
program has been developed by Dr. Liz Austin, in conjunction with the
Hampshire County Bar Association, to help never married parents develop the
communication and life skills needed to better parent their children.
This program has been generously funded through a grant from the Community
Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
Program Contact for scheduling: Rebecca Ryan; HCBA,
Dispute Intervention and the Probation Office
Guardianship, divorce, paternity and other types of cases are routinely referred to the Probation Office for dispute intervention if there is disagreement on such issues as custody, visitation and support. It involves meeting
with a Probation Officer to assess issues and, if possible, come to an agreement on one or more of the issues before the Court.
Telephone: (413) 586-8503. Pamela Eldridge, Chief Probation Officer
Hampshire Introductory Mediation Program
This program is a service provided by the Mediation and
Training Collaborative and Quabbin Mediation. This provides
introductory mediation sessions free of charge. Those with pending
domestic relations and probate matters are encouraged to participate.
Program Contact: Jill Kelley: (413) 586-8500
This program was started in 2005 in partnership with the
Hampshire County Bar Association. The program provides conciliation
services free of charge to litigants in the Hampshire Probate and Family
Court. There are 25 attorneys, who are trained as conciliators, who
volunteer their services to help settle disputes in our court.
Program Contact: Jill Kelley: (413) 586-8500
Domestic Relations Program for Children
The Mass Bar Foundation funds the Hampshire County Domestic Relations Program for Children. This program provides attorneys for children in highly sensitive domestic relations matters on a reduced fee basis.
Telephone: (413) 586-8729 - Contact person: Rebecca Ryan, Hampshire County Bar Association
Click here to be directed to the website
The Family Court Art Committee
This committee consists of court employees, attorneys and members of the community and was created to make the Hampshire Probate and Family Court a more welcoming and less intimidating place for the families needing its
services. The goal of the committee is to purchase art work to hang on walls of the waiting area of the court.
Hampshire Probate Community Outreach Program
The staff of the Probate Court are available to explain the Probate and Family Court functions and the ways we can help you and your family. Our community seminars include topics relating to divorce, estates,
domestic abuse, elder abuse, estate planning, health care proxies, child support and guardianships. To schedule a seminar or presentation with your school, senior citizen, veteran, social service or civic organization.
Please contact: David Sullivan, Register of Probate or
Mark Ames, Head Administrative Assistant at (413) 586-8500
Lawyer Referral Service
The Lawyer Referral Service is a public service program of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Hampshire County Bar Association. It is designed to assist in finding available resources to help solve legal
Contact Person: Rebecca Ryan, H.C.B.A., Telephone: (413) 586-8729. MBA referral 1-866-627-7577
"Limited Appearance" Pilot Project
Limited representation (also known as "unbundling" legal representation) is an alternative mode of delivering legal services whereby an attorney and a client agree in advance that the attorney will represent
the client for a part or parts of the client's case rather than the entire matter. This innovative pilot project is available through Western Mass Legal Services to low-income litigants. The focus is primarily on situations
where one party is represented by counsel and the other is not. Referral intake and information are
available through Hampshire Probate.
Contact: Kate Parent (413) 586-8500 at Hampshire
Probate Court or Attorney Wendy Berg (413) 584-4034 at Western Mass Legal Service
- (Parent Ed for married parents)
The PACT program is a five-hour parent education program that focuses on the needs of children in domestic relations cases. It is a program that concentrates on problem solving, cooperative parenting and helping
children adjust when parents are living apart.
Contact person: Rebecca Ryan, Hampshire County Bar Association, Telephone Number (413) 586-8729
For more information on PACT and other Parent Education Programs click here.
The Response Project
The Response Project is a service of the Hampshire Probate Court which offers information to defendants in Abuse Prevention Orders. A trained facilitator is available at the Court Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00
a.m. and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Contact person: Steve Trudel, Telephone No: (413) 586-8500
SAFEPLAN stands for Safety Assistance for Every Person Leaving Abuse Now and is a statewide system of court based advocacy for victims of domestic abuse petitioning for civil 209A protective orders (restraining
order). SAFEPLAN Advocates offer victims information about the court process, help in developing safety plans, and referral to community support services.
To reach a Probate Court SAFEPLAN advocate, call (413) 585-8343
Safe Passage Service Center: (413) 586-1125
Safe Passage Hotline: (413) 586-5066, 888-345-5282
Website: www.safepass.org (Click here for link)
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
More information regarding Domestic Abuse filings, orders and procedure
The YWCA Visitation Center in Hampshire County offers supervised visitation to non-custodial parents in cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking or a threat of kidnap. Staff is specially trained to
supervise and appropriately intervene during visits to ensure the safety of everyone using the Center. The Program also offers neutral exchanges so that neither parent has to interact with the other.
Telephone: (413) -747-8417, Toll-free telephone: 1-877-747-8417. Website: http://www.ywworks.org (click for link)
Our court has implemented
time standards and case management protocols to better help attorneys and
families to resolve their court matters in a more timely and effective way.
Our court has been able to assist self-represented litigants obtain legal
representation or gain necessary information to navigate the court process
in a better way.
Message from your
I am very proud of the innovative projects and programs
that we have been able to establish to help the many families of Hampshire
County. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Hampshire County
since my election in 2002. Because of the generous support and
commitment of staff, volunteer attorneys, trained professionals, and
community members, our programs help families during some of the most
difficult period of their lives. I encourage you to call our court for
assistance or to access these programs. I gratefully acknowledge our
judiciary and local state legislators for their continued support in helping
to improve the quality of justice in our courts and community.
-Best regards, David E. Sullivan, Register of Probate
(413)586-8500 ext. 107