In the state of Virginia, the Circuit Court and the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court are the two authorities that deal with issues concerning child custody, visitation and child support. The Circuit Court handles custody petitions prior a divorce or split-up cases, while the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court handles other custody cases excluding the cases with divorce.
Thenceforth, the parent proposes his or her case depending if the parent is pursuing a primary custody order, where the parent must submit his or her reasons as to how the child will live a life in his or her best favor. Otherwise, the parent may modify a previously ruled case by the court, by representing the change in circumstances that aroused, resulting in an appeal to alternate the custodial arrangement.
When seeking to become the primary caretaker of a child, a motion for custody form must be filled consisting precise information along with evidence as to what the filing parent offers to the well-being of the child, involving the child’s both mental and physical health, providing shelter and security for the child and how the parent can be of more benefit in comparison to the other parent. If the parent is seeking to alter an order that is already in force, explanations regarding why the present custody order is not compatible with the current lifestyle of the child, how is not in the best interests of the child and reasons on how the custodial order might alter in the best way to the child must be included in the form of motion to change custody that is to be filled. These kinds of situations may result from the parent’s lack of effort and determination to support his or her child in the best way, for instance, substance abuse by the custodial parent, and endangering the child as an outcome of anger management. These circumstances effect the environment around the child and may be rendered as an unsafe setting for the child to be raised in and the law under the state of Virginia rules in the best favor of the child.
Lastly, in both the case of requesting primary custody and in the case of requesting a change in a previously existing custodial order, all the information and evidence needed by the court of law in Virginia are filled, the motion to change custody form is filed with the clerk of the court, and the filing fees are paid. If the parent is unable to pay the fees, a waiver is requested by asking a court for an affidavit. A copy of the documents are sent to the other parent of the child either a law enforcement constable or by mail if the parent subsists outside the state of Virginia, the filing procedure is not considered done according to Virginia law unless the other parent receives a copy of the documents. Even though Virginia law does not require a signed return receipt stating that the other parent has received the documents, however, it is helpful as evidence.