Here you will learn valuable information regarding the Probation Department within the Court. Click on a quick link below to read about:
- Who are the Probation Officers?
- When might you need to go to the Probation Office?
- If you are told by the Court to go to the Probation Office, what will happen?
The Probation Officer is a trained professional As a representative of the Court, the Probation Officer is responsible for providing services to the Court, and for enforcing the Court orders. In addition, the Probation Officer has the responsibility to provide assistance and service to the individual or family before the Court.
Probation Officers in the Probate and Family Court provide services, upon the direction of the Judge, in matters of divorce, legal separation, and adoptions. Their efforts are directed toward protecting the best interest of the children. These interests can be served through several functions of the Probation officer; dispute intervention, conducting investigations into areas of child custody, visitation and support.
If you are scheduled to go before the Court for a hearing, sometimes the Assistant Register (the person sitting beside the Judge in the Courtroom) will send you to the Family Service Office or Probation Office of the Court.
If you come to the Court for matters of Guardianship, the Court might ask you to go to the Family Service Office for an interview with the Probation Officer.
- If the court orders you into a “Job Search”, you might need to go to the Probation Office at least one time per week to prove that you are actively seeking employment
- The court might order you into “Community Service”, if so, it is the Probation Office that oversees your time.
- If the court orders you into a “Substance Abuse Testing”, you might need to go to the Probation Office, wherein you will be assigned to a Probation Officer who will oversee your testing, and report to the Court findings. You could be asked to provide a urine sample, or you may be asked to take a breathalyzer, or you may be ordered to go to an outside facility.
- The Court might order an investigation into the areas of child custody, visitation and support. If that is the case, a Probation Officer will conduct the investigation, which might include the following:
- A Home Visit to your home;
- An interview with yourself, your spouse or significant other;
- An interview with pediatricians, school officials, neighbors, etc
- An interview with your children, either at home or in the Probation Office at the Court
The Court can enter any order that might use the Probation Department for any of the above activities or any other that the court might deem meet and just.
The Family Service Office has highly trained Probation Officers who are responsible for providing services to the Court and for enforcing the Court Orders. They are responsible to provide assistance and service to the individual or family before their Court hearing.
Upon entering the Family Service Office, you will be required to fill out a “Family Service Intake Form” (This form MUST be printed on blue, acid free paper. Click for form.) The Intake form provides the Probation Officer with important information, and is required by the Commissioner of Probation in Boston, Massachusetts. Then both parties, with your attorneys, will sit down with a Probation Officer to discuss a possible agreement. This is called Dispute Intervention. The Probation Officer IS NOT an attorney and can not give legal advice. They are there to help the parties come to an agreement. Two things can happen in this meeting:
- You can come to an agreement, which will be incorporated into a Judgment or Order in your case; or
- You do not come to an agreement, at which time you will go before the Court and the Judge decides on your contested issues