Lawrence Probate and Family Court
Lawrence Probate and Family Court is located in Lawrence, Massachusetts and serves the communities of Essex County. This court handles a variety of legal matters including wills, estates, adoptions, name changes, and family issues such as divorce, child custody, child support, and more.
Hours and Location
Lawrence Probate and Family Court is located at:
2 Appleton St.
Lawrence, MA 01840
The court is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. It is closed on weekends and holidays.
The registry is closed daily from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Please plan to conduct registry business outside of this time.
- Register’s Office: 978-686-9692
- Probation Department: 978-744-1020
- TTY: 978-975-2429
Email: [email protected]
- Register’s Office: 978-687-3694
- Probation Department: 978-741-5732
- Essex Probate and Family Court Virtual Registry
- View daily list (PDF)
Parking and Transportation
There are a few paid parking options near the courthouse:
- Two paid parking lots
- One paid parking garage adjacent to the courthouse
- Metered street parking
Lawrence Probate and Family Court is accessible by public transportation:
- The MBTA Haverhill line stops at the Lawrence Station, about half a mile from the courthouse
- Buses through the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority also serve the area
Lawrence Probate and Family Court offers the following services:
- Virtual Registry – Get remote assistance with probate and family matters through the virtual registry
- eFiling – Electronically file documents for probate and family cases from your home or office
- eReminders – Sign up to receive text or email notifications about your upcoming court events
- Docket Search – Look up probate and family dockets, court calendars, and case information online
The court aims to provide accessibility to all individuals. Contact the ADA Coordinator for questions or requests for accommodations.
Hon. Frances Giordano – First Justice
Judge Frances Giordano presides over Lawrence Probate and Family Court as the First Justice. She oversees the Associate Justices and ensures the proper administration of justice.
see also Yolo County Superior Court
Pamela A. Casey O’Brien – Register of Probate
Pamela Casey O’Brien serves as the Register of Probate for Lawrence. The Register maintains all probate and family records and dockets.
Patrice O’Brien – Chief Probation Officer
As Chief Probation Officer, Patrice O’Brien manages the probation staff and programs for Lawrence Probate and Family Court. Probation officers perform investigations and provide supervision services.
Types of Cases Heard
Lawrence Probate and Family Court handles the following types of legal matters:
- Wills and estates
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Name changes
Family Law Cases
- Child custody
- Child support
- Modifications of prior orders
The Probate Process
Petition the Court
To open a probate case, start by filing a petition with the court. The type of petition will depend on your particular legal matter.
Notice and Hearings
The court will schedule any necessary hearings and issue notice to all interested parties. Attend all your probate hearings.
For certain probate cases, the court will conduct an investigation through the probation department. This provides the judge with more information for decision making.
Court Order Issued
Once the petition is fully heard, the judge will issue a written order, decree, or judgment resolving the probate matter.
Working with a Probate Lawyer
Having an experienced probate and family law attorney represent you can make navigating the court process easier. Consider hiring a lawyer for:
- Complex estate disputes
- Contested guardianship cases
- High asset divorce and child custody cases
Lawyers can file paperwork, appear at court hearings, and advise you on legal strategy.
Q: How can I look up the status of my probate or family case at Lawrence Court?
A: You can search for case information and dockets online through the Essex Probate and Family Court Virtual Registry. This will let you look up schedules, documents filed, and more.
Q: What should I expect at my first court date for a divorce or family law matter?
A: On your first date, not much may happen other than meeting the judge and scheduling the next events in your case. Be prepared to address any temporary orders for child custody or support needed.
Q: I need to file for guardianship of my grandchild. What forms do I need?
A: You will need to file a petition and other documents, available on the court’s website. The best option is to meet with a probate lawyer who can handle the filing process for you.
Q: How long does it take to complete an uncontested adult adoption?
A: An uncontested adult adoption can typically be completed in around 3-6 months. The process involves filings, notices, and a court hearing.
Q: What are the steps in probating a will after someone passes away?
A: The key steps are: filing the will and petition, notifying heirs, inventorying assets, paying claims, and distributing assets per the will. An experienced probate lawyer can guide you through the process.