Massachusetts Probate Courts Underfunded and Overworked

By Tracy Fischer

The Massachusetts Bar Association has produced a video to highlight the results of underfunding of the Probate Courts.  In this video Judges, professors and court officers discuss the difficulties in administering justice when the resources they had depended on are no longer there.  It is clear from these interviews that hearings and decisions are going to be seriously delayed.  As the Massachusetts Probate Court becomes more clogged, and filings, hearings and decisions are delayed even longer, the case for divorce mediation becomes even stronger.  If the family courts are seen as at a crisis point – longer delays, cutbacks on numbers of cases being heard- people seeking child support, divorces and modifications are confronted with substantially longer wait times.  One judge points out that couples may be married for longer than they wish because of the delays.  Judges are encouraging those who can, to mediate. Mediation can be extremely beneficial for those couples who wish to maintain their privacy and to have control over the timing of their divorce proceedings.