Filing for Custody and Visitation-What to Do in Virginia?

When a relationship ends, it’s not uncommon for difficulties to arise between parents in regards to sharing time with their children. When any parent, or indeed, any person, finds themselves needing to file with the court system for help with determining custody and visitation, there are a few things to remember to help position yourself in the best place possible for obtaining the results you desire.

First, make sure you’re filing in the appropriate courthouse. Most initial petitions for custody and visitation as well as motions to amend custody and visitation will be filed in your local juvenile and domestic relations courthouse. The local juvenile and domestic relations courthouse will either be the juvenile court in the county or city where the child resides primarily, or, the juvenile court that last issued any Order for custody and visitation.

Second, always file both a motion to amend custody and a motion to amend visitation, (or determine custody and visitation) even if you don’t think you’re actually asking for both. It is always a best practice to have both petitions before the Court for the Court to act on, because if something changes between time of filing and the actual court hearing, you don’t want to come to court and realize the actual request is for visitation, and all you filed is custody, because the Court won’t be able to grant you relief unless the Court has a petition for the same before it. If one of the petitions is ultimately not necessary, it can always be dismissed at the hearing.

An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, and as such, always remember to file two petitions per child- one for custody, and one for visitation.

If you have questions regarding custody and visitation, our attorneys can help.  Please feel free to call us at (804) 423-1382 or email us at to set up a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.