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A Different Order from the Probate & Family Court?

A District Court* can make orders to protect your children even if the orders conflict with Probate and Family Court custody, parenting time, or visitation orders.


  • a Probate and Family Court has made an order for custody, parenting time, or visitation and
  • you need to go to a District Court* to get a 209A order that is different from the Probate & Family Court order,

this is what happens:

  1. The District Court makes the order;
  2. The District Court order can be in effect for no more than 30 days;
  3. It immediately sends a copy to the Probate and Family Court that issued the prior order; and
  4. The Probate and Family Court can make a new order that replaces the District Court emergency order.


In July 2015, the Probate and Family Court changed its forms and website information to refer to most "visitation" orders as "parenting time."

*District Court, Boston Municipal Court, Superior Court or, a judge on the Emergency Judicial Response System.

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Last Updated August, 2015

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