Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure

Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure  Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 81: Applicability of rules

Table of Contents

(a) Applicability in general

These rules apply to all civil proceedings in courts whose proceedings they govern except:

(1) proceedings pertaining to the writ of habeas corpus;

(2) deleted;

(3) proceedings pertaining to the disciplining of an attorney;

(4) to (8) deleted.

In respects not governed by statute, the practice in the enumerated proceedings shall follow the course of the common law, as near to these rules as may be, except that depositions shall not be taken, nor interrogatories served, save by order of the court on motion, with notice, for good cause shown.

(b) Writs abolished

The following writs are abolished: audita querela; certiorari; entry; error; mandamus; prohibition; quo warranto; review; and scire facias. In any action seeking relief formerly obtainable under any such writ, procedure shall follow these rules.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 81(b)

(c) Deleted


(d) Terminology in statutes

In applying these rules to any proceedings to which they apply, the terminology of any statute which also applies shall, if inconsistent with these rules, be taken to mean the analogous device or procedure proper under these rules.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 81(d)

(e) Procedure not specifically prescribed

When no procedure us specifically prescribed, the court shall proceed in any lawful manner not inconsistent with the Constitution of this Commonwealth, these rules, or any applicable statute.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 81(e)

(f) Deleted


(g) Deleted



The following definitions for purposes of these rules apply to terms as appearing in Mass.R.Civ.P.:

(1) Clerk includes Register of Probate.

(2) Justice includes Judge of Probate Court.

(3) Chief Justice includes the Chief Judge of Probate Court.

(4) Superior Court includes Probate Court.

(5) The word "complaint" includes "petition" and "libel."

(6) The words "jury" and "verdict" and Rules applicable to jury cases apply only to courts having jurisdiction of jury trials.

(7) Third-party actions shall not be applicable to Domestic Relations matters.

(8) References in Mass.R.Civ.P. to actions including remanded cases and/or defenses and the capacity of parties not recognized in Domestic Relations practice as set out in Rule 1 shall be inapplicable to Domestic Relations cases.

(9) In Domestic Relations matters in the Probate Court forms, where prescribed, will be required in lieu of pleadings.


Rule 81(a), (c), (f) and (g) have been amended by deleting proceedings not applicable to Domestic Relations Courts. Rule 81(h) has been added to broaden the definitions of some terms as appearing in Mass.R.Civ.P.

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