Northampton resident sworn in as temporary register of Hampshire County Probate and Family Court

Northampton resident Mark S. Ames has been named temporary register of the Hampshire County Probate and Family Court.

Northampton resident Mark S. Ames has been named temporary register of the Hampshire County Probate and Family Court. FILE PHOTO

Staff Report

Published: 01-25-2024 8:06 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Mark S. Ames has been appointed temporary register of probate for Hampshire County’s Probate and Family Court, following Michael Carey’s retirement from the position.

Ames, of Northampton, was sworn in Jan. 16 by First Justice Diana Velez Harris.

“People come to the Probate and Family Court at difficult times in their lives, such as divorce and when a loved one dies,” Ames said in a statement. “My goal as temporary register is to make the process as easy as possible for them.”

The register of probate is the keeper of record for all matters that come before the court, which concern divorce, child support, name changes, guardianships and estates.

Ames, who most recently served as assistant register of the court, has worked on many projects to assist people with cases in the Probate and Family Court for the past 26 years. He manages the introductory mediation and conciliation programs, which provide professional assistance in reaching agreements on legal issues. He also helped establish the Lawyer for a Day program that allows self-represented litigants an opportunity to get free legal advice about their case. He was instrumental in creating and staffing the court’s satellite office in Belchertown.

Part of the job of register is to maintain the records of the court. Ames wrote a successful grant application that funded a preservation project that was completed in 2016. Documents from 1660 to 1890 were digitized and cataloged, making them available to the public for free through the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He has served on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Archives and Records Advisory Committee, which seeks to preserve court records statewide.

Carey, of Easthampton, retired on Jan. 16 after 11 years in the position. He is departing the position in the middle of his second six-year term.

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