A person may file a support petition through the intake office when the respondent lives in the state of Virginia and:
- The petitioner and/or children live in this jurisdiction; or
- There is an open support case in our Court; or
- A Circuit Court Order addressing support (usually but not necessarily a divorce case) has been transferred specifically to this Court, or
- Another Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has transferred the support case to this specific Court.
If both the respondent and the plaintiff live in the State of Virginia, the petitioner can file for support through DCSE (Division of Child Support Enforcement) and the resulting Administrative Order has the same authority as a Court Order and the benefits include the SPLS (State Parent Locator Service) and the FPLS (Federal Parent Locator Service) as well as DCSE filing for arrearage if it occurs. If the petitioner desires only that DCSE collect the Court ordered payments, he or she is advised to open a case with DCSE prior to the Court hearing. The telephone number for DCSE is 1-800-468-8894.
If there is a support case in our Court and the petitioner was a party to that case and wishes to amend or modify that Order, he or she should call the Clerk’ Office at 703-792-6160 to find out the procedure for filing a motion to modify an existing order. The Clerk’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If the Plaintiff (petitioner) is receiving TANF, (previously known as ADC), Medicaid or any form of public benefits, he or she must file through DCSE. The individual filing should contact the Department of Social Services and DCSE for specific directions and assistance in the filing process. The petitioner should be aware that there is the possibility of being charged with fraud by DSS if he or she fails to report receiving both support from the child’s father and TANF.
If the respondent resides outside of Virginia, the intake officer will suggest that the client go to the DCSE to file for support services under UIFSA. UIFSA enables the courts of one state to ask the courts of another state to establish, change or enforce a support order, or to make a legal determination of the fatherhood for a child whose parents were never married. Although we cannot refuse to file a local support petition when the respondent does not live in Virginia, we must inform the petitioner that even if our Judge does order the respondent living in another state to pay support, the order will be non-enforceable.
If the respondent resides outside of Virginia, and the criteria are met, a petitioner can file a Virginia Support Petition along with an Affidavit Alleging Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Sections 8.01-328(8) or 20.88.35 of the Code of Virginia (Long Arm Statute).
A petitioner filing for spousal support only cannot file through the Division of Child Support Enforcement, but must file through a Court in the state in which the respondent resides. According to section 16.1-241 (L), the J&DR Court has jurisdiction for spousal support only if the parties are separated.
There is a service fee charged by the Sheriff’s Office
of $12 for each person
who must be served in cases of relief of custody, emancipation, spousal support, and paternity. The petitioner must carry the paperwork to the Clerk's Office so that the fees can be paid.