Child Custody and Visitation Information
A person may file a custody/visitation petition where the child lives, where the child has been living within the last 12 months, or where an existing order has been issued. Intake appointments are preferred and can be scheduled Monday through Friday by calling 703-792-6210 for the Manassas Intake Office or 703-792-7350 for the Woodbridge Intake Office, and ask to speak to an Intake Officer.
For Custody, Support and Family Protective Orders, go to the Custody, Support and Family Protective Order
section of our website. If there has been a previous order in our Court, and the petitioner wishes to modify or change that order, he or she should call the Clerk’s Office at 703-792-6160 to find out the procedure for filing a motion to modify the existing Court Order. The Clerk’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The following information is needed for filing:
- A current address for each child for whom you are filing. The child’s complete name, date of birth and social security number must be included.
- The month and year each child moved to the current address.
- All of the addresses where each child has lived in the last five years. Also include the month and year each child moved to each address and the month and year each child moved from that address.
- The name(s) of the person(s) the child lived with at each address and the present address of each person with whom the child lived during the last five years.
- Upon completion of the petition(s) for custody and visitation at the Intake office, the petitioner must file his or her paperwork with the Clerk of the Court either in person or by mail. There is a $25 filing fee for custody and visitation petitions payable to the Clerk of the Court.
- The present address of both birth parents and other persons that are a party to this matter. Include the complete and full address including zip codes. We need the street address, if there is one, not a P.O. Box. If you do not have the address for each parent, you will have to take your completed paperwork to the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court Clerk’s Office and fill out an Affidavit of Publication in front of one of the Clerks. The Clerk will process the Notice of Publication for you. There is a fee of approximately $25 charged by the newspaper, depending on which newspaper you choose.
- If you have ever been involved in any way with any Court proceeding concerning custody of this child in any state, provide the name of the Court and State, when the Court date was and the outcome of the Court proceeding. You must bring a copy of all pleadings and orders to be filed with the custody petition.
- If you know of anyone who is not already named as a party in your petition who has custody of the child in question or who has visitation with the child, provide the name and address of that person and that person’s relationship to the child.
The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court has no jurisdiction, and therefore cannot take a petition for custody or visitation when there is a Virginia Circuit Court Order (usually a divorce decree) addressing that matter, unless there has been subsequent transfer of the custody issue to this specific Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. It will be necessary to go back to original Court and have the matter transferred to our Court or file a motion in that Court to have the matter heard in that Court.
If there is an order addressing custody/visitation matters from any other Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, you must go back to that Court and have the matter transferred to our Court, or go to that Court and file a motion to have your concern heard in that Court.
If there is a Foreign Court Order (out of state), there is no need re-file here. You may take a certified copy of your order to the J&DR Clerk’s Office and have the order registered. You may file with our Court if you wish.
There is a $12 service fee to be paid at the Clerk’s Office when you file for emancipation, relief of custody or paternity, or spousal support. The fee is $12 for each person to be served.
You may be referred to the Office of Dispute Resolution when you file for custody, visitation or support. The phone number is 703-792-4753 and it is located at 9309 Center Street, Suite 302, Manassas, Virginia.
If either parent lives out of the area, or for some other reason cannot to come to Court, but concurs with the petitioner’s request regarding custody/visitation of the child, he or she may sign a Waiver of Acceptance and not appear before the Court even though summoned. The petitioner must appear before the Court. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to bring the signed Waiver to the Court hearing.
If you still have questions regarding the information needed to file a custody petition, or the process, call 703-792-6210 for the Manassas Intake Office or 703-792-7350 for the Woodbridge Intake Office, and ask to speak to an Intake Officer.