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Strained to the Limit: Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts

How Does that Affect Your Divorce?

With no immediate likelihood of hiring new judges or law clerks, the impact of losing twenty percent (20%) of Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judges and sixty percent (60%) of the law clerks will continue to have a significant impact on divorcing couples utilizing the Massachusetts court system for resolution of their cases.
In a system that saw 156,000 new case filings this year, the inability of judges and staff to keep up with the caseload is causing delays in the processing of filings and orders, delays in obtaining hearing dates, and increases in the amount of cases that judges must hear on their motion days. Due to the Court’s reduction in public access hours, following up on cases usually leads to attorneys having to travel to the court to obtain answers. This all leads to an increase in the cost for the average client. The attorneys are spending significantly more time in court tracking down files, personally hand-filing new complaints or motions, and waiting for their cases to be called for hearing before the judge.
There is a silver lining to all of these reductions and delays. More divorcing couples and attorneys are turning to collaborative law and divorce mediation as a cost effective alternative — Cost-effective in both time and money. Furthermore, the Probate and Family Court is encouraging these methods of resolution with more stream-lined procedures that will be rolling out in 2012. Before entering the overloaded court system, research whether collaborative law or divorce mediation are a good fit for your situation. To find out more information, contact Attorney Michael Doherty or Attorney Michelle M. Raymond.