Registering Final Custody, Visitation, and Support Orders in Virginia

In today’s mobile society, it’s not uncommon to have a final decree of divorce which sets forth child custody and visitation, and/or child and spousal support issued in one state, and then have one or both parties move to a different state. Similarly, courts can issue custody and visitation orders that set forth terms for unmarried parties, and one or both parents ultimately move to a different state. Sometimes, parties move within states, but leave the original city or county which issued the order. What to do with your Orders setting forth critical information and rulings when you move?

Here in Virginia, it’s a fairly straightforward process- you will want to file your custody, visitation, and support Orders with the appropriate Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court having jurisdiction- generally the JDR court for the county or city where you now live, provided you’ve lived there for 6 months. There are two forms you would complete- one for custody and visitation orders, and one for support orders. It’s important to have at least one certified copy of each Order that you wish to register- you would obtain a certified copy (sometimes for a small copying fee) from the original court that issued the Order. You then take the completed form and the certified copy to the local JDR court Clerk’s office for filing, where it will be reviewed by a Judge, the opposing party will be notified and have a chance to object via appearing to a hearing date, and if no objection is made, the Order will be successfully registered for enforcement and modification in your new home court.

Why is it important to register foreign Orders? Without properly registering such Orders in your new local home court, you cannot file motions to amend and change visitation and custody terms should something change, nor can you enforce the Order with judicial powers if the other party is not following the terms of the Order. Without registration, you’d be forced to file for relief in the original court, which could be several hours or days of travel away.

Of note, you can also register foreign issued personal Protective Orders by also completing the necessary forms and providing certified copy of the original protective Order to the clerk of the local JDR Court, which also allows for enforcement of the Protective Orders in your local court.

If you have questions about Motions to Register your Custody, Visitation, Support and Protective Orders, please contact us at or 804-423-1382.