Massachusetts: Governor Healey Recommends Appointment of Mark Ames as Hampshire County Register of Probate and Family Court

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Boston — Governor Maura T. Healey today announced that she is recommending Mark Ames for appointment as Hampshire County Register of Probate and Family Court. Ames will be replacing Michael J. Carey, former Hampshire County Register of Probate, who retired late last year. Ames has been serving as the Temporary Register since January 16, 2024.

The Probate and Family Court Department handles court matters that involve families and children, such as adoption, divorce, child support, and wills. In the case of a vacancy, the Governor has the authority to appoint the Register of Probate and Family Court with the advice and counsel of the Governor's Council to serve out the remainder of the term, which currently goes through the end of the 2024.

"Mark Ames has dedicated his career to supporting families and children across Hampshire County," said Governor Maura Healey. "It is clear that over his years of public service, he has cultivated meaningful relationships with the people of Hampshire County and has always advocated for his community. That's why I am proud to recommend him for Hampshire County Register of Probate and Family Court."

"The Probate and Family Court is essential for supporting the families and children who need it most," said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. "Governor Healey and I are proud to recommend Mark Ames as Hampshire County Registrar because over the course of his career he has proven to be a fair, empathetic and compassionate leader that we can all count on. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues on the Governor's Council to advance this appointment."

"I am honored to be recommended as Register of Probate for the Hampshire County Probate and Family Court," said Mark Ames. "I've spent my career working with families who are going through incredibly tough moments in their lives, and hoping to give them the support they need as they do. For the past few months as Temporary Register, I've gained firsthand experience in what it takes to serve in this role, and I hope to be able to continue to expand this service."

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As Temporary Register, Ames has been overseeing the day-to-day aspects of the Probate and Family Court. He has prioritized community outreach, by attending health and safety fairs in Western Massachusetts to discuss estate planning. He has also provided staff trainings to make the experience of coming to the court as efficient as possible.

Prior to this role as Temporary Register, Ames worked at the Hampshire Probate and Family Court for 27 years. Here, he managed the Introductory Mediation and Conciliation programs that provide professional assistance to help reach agreement about legal issues. He also helped establish the Lawyer for the 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 to provide easier access to the Hampshire Probate Court for families residing in Belchertown, Granby and Ware.

He was also pivotal in efforts to preserve Hampshire County's historically important court records. Ames wrote a successful grant application that funded a preservation project in which 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 that seeks to preserve court records statewide.

Ames is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and lives in Northampton with his family.

Statements of Support:

Senator Jo Comerford:

"I applaud Governor Healey's appointment of Mark Ames as Register of the Hampshire Division of the Probate and Family Court. Mark serves the Commonwealth with distinction and I'm heartened that we will continue to benefit from his leadership and commitment to equity as Register."

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State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa:

"I have known Mark Ames for over a decade, and I know him to be a conscientious, knowledgeable, and dedicated public servant who is meticulous in all he does. I can think of no better person to serve as the Register of Probate. I am grateful to Governor Healey for ensuring that the Hampshire County Probate and Family Court is in the best hands possible."

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, former Hampshire Register of Probate and Family Court:

"Governor Healey has made an outstanding selection in her appointment of Mark Ames as Hampshire Register of Probate. Mark has over two decades of experience in the Probate & Family Court and will continue to make it a welcoming and accessible place. I have no doubt that under Mark's leadership this court will continue to be a hub of innovation and excellence"

Former Hampshire Register of Probate and Family Court Register Michael J. Carey:

"The Governor has made an excellent choice in nominating Mark Ames as the next Hampshire Register. For the past twenty-five years Mark has played a pivotal role in every major decision and initiative that has taken place at the Hampshire Probate Court. The citizens of Hampshire County will be well served with Mark as their Register of Probate."

Retired Probate and Family Court Judge Linda Fidnick:

"I've known Mark Ames for several decades during my time on the Probate and Family Court, first as a lawyer and then as a judge. I can think of no one who is a better choice to be the Register. Mark is very kind and intelligent, and he knows the Probate and Family Court – especially the Hampshire Probate and Family Court – as well or better as almost anyone. We worked together to create the groundbreaking Family Resolution Specialty Court, and Mark was so enthusiastic about making it happen. He's a genuinely decent, hardworking and compassionate person, and I'm so glad that this is happening for him."

Retired Probate and Family Court Judge Gail Perlman:

"Many thanks to Governor Healey for this very wise appointment. Mark Ames has all the knowledge, creativity, energy and good judgment needed to run the Registry of Probate. The Hampshire Court is lucky to have him aboard."

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