Trial Court Rules

Administrative Order

Trial Court Rules Trial Court Administrative Order 15-2: For the Implementation of the 209A Case Transfer Procedure at the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department and for the Interdepartmental Transfer of Certain Abuse Prevention Proceedings 

Adopted Date: 12/18/2015
Effective Date: 01/06/2016
Referenced Sources: M.G.L. c. 211B, § 9

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Administrative Order 15-2

This Order is issued pursuant to the authority established by G.L. c. 211B, § 9

This Order will take effect on January 6, 2016. 

I. Order of transfer

Any judge of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department, may, acting sua sponte or upon the motion or request of any party to a domestic relations case pending in the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department, order the transfer to said court of any abuse prevention proceeding then pending in the Northern Berkshire Division of the District Court, the Pittsfield Division of the District Court and the Southern Berkshire Division of the District Court. The transfer is not to be done over the objection of the parties except for good cause shown.

Prior to the issuance of such transfer order, the Court shall provide all parties with an opportunity to be heard.

Upon the issuance of such a transfer order by the Probate and Family Court judge, the District Court action shall forthwith be transferred to the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court. The Probate and Family Court shall thereupon have the authority to revise or modify a District Court order under G.L. c. 209A (hereinafter "209A order") issued prior to such transfer or to make new orders in the transferred action as if the action had commenced in the Probate and Family Court. Any currently effective District Court 209A order shall be considered an effective order of the Probate and Family Court and shall be deemed to have issued on the date said 209A order issued in the District Court.

II. Procedures for transfer

Upon the issuance of a transfer order, the following shall occur:

A.    

A judge of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department who orders a transfer shall:

(1) 

on that same day issue a written Order of Transfer and forthwith issue a single 209A order using a Probate and Family Court docket number that shall state all terms of the 209A order.

(2)    

advise the party or parties to the 209A order of the effects of the transfer including but not limited to an explanation that:

(a) as of the issuance of the Probate and Family Court order, the District Court order is no longer in effect.
(b) the abuse prevention proceeding shall thereafter be a matter docketed in the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department;
(c) all further proceedings will take place in the Probate and Family Court; and
(d) the case in the District Court will be transferred.

B.    

The Register of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department shall:

(1)    

prepare such case files and make such docket entries as he or she deems appropriate provided, however, that such case shall be assigned a new Probate and Family Court docket number.

(2)    

notify the Probation Department of the Probate and Family Court that the District Court 209A order has been transferred to the Berkshire Probate and Family Court Department;

(3)  

inform the Clerk of the District Court of the transfer by faxing notification to the District Court;

(4)    

transmit a copy of the Probate and Family Court 209A order and Order of Transfer to the relevant police department(s) in the same manner as required when any other 209A order is modified; and

(5)    

serve a copy of the Probate and Family Court 209A order and Order of Transfer on all parties in the same manner as required when any other 209 A order is modified.


C.    

The Probation Department of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court shall:

(1)    

on the same day of the transfer create a new order in the Statewide Registry of Civil Restraining Orders using the new Probate and Family Court Docket number and the original start date of the District Court 209A restraining order. In addition, in the comments box indicate in capital letters that this order has TRANSFERRED FROM the ___ DISTRICT COURT ON (date); and

(2)    

notify the Probation Department of the District Court that the District Court 209A order has been transferred to the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court on __ _

(3)    

close the District Court order in the Statewide Registry of Civil Restraining Orders and indicate in the comments box in capital letters that the case has been TRANSFERRED TO THE BERKSHIRE PROBATE AND FAMILY COURT ON (date).

D.    

Upon receipt of the Notification of Transfer by the Register, the Clerk of the District Court shall:


(1)    

note the transfer on the District Court docket;

(2)    

immediately transmit copies of any case papers that have not previously been transmitted to the Register of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department. All original case papers shall be retained in the District Court case files.


DI.    

Upon notification from the Probation Department of the Probate and Family Court that the 209A order has been transferred, the Probation Department of the District Court shall:


(1)    

verify that the transferred order has been entered into the Statewide Registry of Civil Restraining Orders by the Probation Department of the Probate and Family Court; and
 

Commentary

Several years ago an inter-departmental working group was created to consider issues of common concern regarding procedures under G.L. c. 209A and to further cooperation among the departments in implementing their joint jurisdiction. The working group included representatives of the District, Probate and Family, Superior and Boston Municipal Court Departments. The working group focused on the development of a revised policy to simplify the current complex procedures when an order from the District or Boston Municipal Court department is modified by a Probate and Family Court judge sitting as a District or Boston Municipal Court judge. As a result of that group's efforts, a pilot procedure was implemented which enabled the interdepartmental transfer of District Court abuse prevention proceedings to the Probate and Family Court under certain circumstances. The procedure is currently in effect in Barnstable, selected District Courts in Norfolk and Franklin Counties. 

The 209A case transfer procedure permits a judge of the designated Probate and Family Court, acting sua sponte or upon the motion or request of any party to a domestic relations case pending in that court to order the transfer of any abuse prevention proceeding then pending in the certain District Courts. The procedure is intended both to minimize the burden imposed on parties by having related cases simultaneously pending in different court departments and to improve the efficiency of the handling and processing of such cases. 


Please be aware that, under the terms of this 209A case transfer procedure, it is only the judge of the Probate and Family Court who can order the transfer. Parties seeking protection under c. 209A in a court with jurisdiction should never be sent to another court department, nor may an ex parte order received in the District Court be made returnable to the Probate and Family Court regardless of marital status or the involvement of children. 

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