Friday, February 19, 2021

Filing Procedure Update from Hampshire County Probate and Family Court- February 2021


Hampshire Probate and Family Court
Notice to the Bar
February 2021
Please see below for guidelines for filing documents in the Hampshire Probate and Family Court. Please click HERE for the Court’s Operating Procedure under Probate and Family Court Standing Order 2-20 for additional information on the Court’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filing Methods
Documents may be filed in the Hampshire Probate and Family Court in one of three ways:

* E-Filing: Documents may be e-filed for certain case types. Click HERE to see the types of cases that may be e-filed.

* Hand Delivery: Documents may be hand delivered to Court. There is a drop box in the entranceway that is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

* Mail: Documents may be mailed to the Court. However, all mail is quarantined for 24 hours prior to processing.

Emergency Filing Methods
* Email: Unless you are a Court Service Center staff member or an attorney volunteering through a Lawyer for the Day program on behalf of a self-represented litigant, please do not email documents to the Court absent an emergency. If documents are emailed to the Court due to an emergency, they should be emailed only to They should not be emailed or copied to individual staff members. If the email includes “pictures” of documents, particularly financial statements, the original documents must be submitted to the Court. The “pictures” can be printed, but cannot be scanned into MassCourts.

* Fax: Documents may be faxed to the Court ONLY in an emergency and when no other filing method is available.

The cover sheet should be labeled “EMERGENCY.”

Filing Instructions
Unless noted otherwise, documents should be filed through ONLY one of the methods above (e.g., if documents are e-filed, they should not also be emailed or mailed; if documents are mailed, they should not also be emailed).

Please include the date of the hearing on your envelope and the front page of each pleading.

Filing Deadlines
Absent an emergency, all filings must be received by the Court three days prior to the hearing date. The Court may decline to consider documents received after that time. The net effect of having to sort through emails, e-filings, hand-delivered pleadings, and the daily mail is that, occasionally, the “late-filed” pleading does not get matched to the file in sufficient time for the hearing. This results in a hardship to everyone concerned.

Dispute Interventions
Cases may be referred to the Probation Department for dispute intervention services, which will be conducted remotely. Dispute intervention referrals for matters that are scheduled before the Court, such as motions, contempts, and pre-trial conferences, will occur the business day prior to the scheduled Court hearing. Case management conferences that are scheduled with Probation will occur on the date indicated on the notice.

Please pay close attention to the scheduling notice, as it will provide detailed information regarding whether the case has been referred to Probation, the date of the dispute intervention, and participation instructions.

* Filing Documents: For questions regarding filing documents, please make an appointment by emailing with “Appointment” in the subject line. The email should contain the
date(s) and time(s) you are available and a brief description of the subject matter. Please include the docket number. Someone from the Registry will contact you during the time indicated in your email. You can also access the Virtual Registry by clicking HERE.

* Emergencies: Questions regarding emergencies can be addressed to Noelle Barrist Stern at

* Dispute Intervention: Questions regarding dispute intervention can be addressed to the Probation
Department at 413-586-8503.