Norfolk County Register of Probate
The Register of Probate is effectively the Clerk of Courts for the Probate and Family Court within the county. Responsibilities include records and case management, assisting the justices in court, and working with the involved parties. The Probate and Family Court Department has jurisdiction over family-related and probate matters, such as divorce, paternity, child support, custody, parenting time, adoption, termination of parental rights, and abuse prevention. It also handles wills, estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and changes of name. The Register of Probate is a state office within the Judicial Branch, and the term of office is six years. All 14 counties are electing a Register of Probate in 2020.
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Colleen Marie Brierley
State your relevant background and qualifications.
What are the principal challenges facing the Register of Probate?
As the Register of Probate deals with cases involving family-related matters, what skills or experience do you possess to ensure that you will assist and protect all individuals, families and children in an impartial and respectful manner?
I have worked on behalf of children, teenagers and families before the Juvenile and Probate Courts of MA as a mental health worker, youth advocate, DSS social worker (DCF) and attorney for over 35 years. Since 1996, as an attorney, I have been managing a private law practice based in Norwood, MA. I am a litigator, who zealously represents many children, teenagers and adults appearing in both the Probate and Juvenile Courts. Member of the Norfolk County Bar Assoc., Children and Family Law Bar
As the Register of Probate efficiency and accuracy in record keeping of all filings, citations, return of service, must be a top priority. Increasing e-filing systems and expanding the virtual Register’s Office during the Pandemic is essential. Other challenges I see are in ensuring equity in access to the court for everyone. Litigants who are not represented by counsel must have equal access to solutions from the court. Ex: The Register of Probate must expand the Lawyer of the Day Program
I have a professional and a personal history of being a tireless advocate for families and children. First as a mental health worker at Taunton State Hospital, a DSS social worker in Lynn, MA, a foster mother and adoptive mother of three children through DCF and currently as a children and family law attorney, I have been a voice, advocate and problem solver for children and families facing very emotional and difficult challenges. Challenges such as poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse.
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