child custody

Custody issues can confront people in many different circumstances. Perhaps a custody issue has arisen due to a divorce or maybe two unmarried parents have to decide on which parent will have custody of the child. Regardless of the situation, custody is always a difficult and emotional issue that is rarely solved in one trip to court. One of the most important things to remember regarding custody in Virginia is that the law considers a court’s ruling on custody to be modifiable based on a material change in circumstances. Permitting modification of the custody order allows parents the opportunity to petition the court to make changes to the Order when a significant change has occurred in their lives and family dynamic. Below are some answers to questions that you probably have if you find yourself facing a custody issue:

“What court hears custody disputes?”

Depending on the situation surrounding your custody dispute, either the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court or the Circuit court will have jurisdiction over your case. If the custody issue has arisen from a divorce proceeding then typically the issue will be dealt with in circuit court and if it has arisen outside a divorce, it will be dealt with in juvenile court.

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Cleveland Slaughter


An uncontested divorce is filed on the grounds of separation vs. a contested fault based divorce where one party files on a ground such as adultery, cruelty or desertion. The ability to file an uncontested divorce is hugely desirable for many couples that wish to separate and divorce under the best possible circumstances for themselves and their families. An uncontested divorce protects couples from ever having to see the inside of the courtroom and provides a timely end to a troublesome and difficult situation.
The requirements for filing an uncontested divorce are as follows:
1. Separation: The couple must have been living separate and apart for the required statutory period of either:
a. One year, or
b. If there were no children born of the couple’s marriage and the couple has a signed separation agreement (also known as property  settlement agreement) then for six months;
2. All of the issues have been agreed to by the parties; and
3. Child support, spousal support, custody, and/or visitation is either
a. Not Requested; or
b. Agreed in a written and signed agreement.
Important for you to remember if you are separated and intend to file an uncontested divorce:
Resumption of sexual relations or living together will reset the clock on the separation period to zero and the time will be calculated from the last occasion where there was cohabitation.

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