One of the most important and fundamental questions in all child custody cases is “where do I file?” Very often the party that wishes to file simply does so where the child is living, or where they are living. However, this is not always correct and could result in substantial delays when the matter it transferred back to another city or county. In Virginia, venue in initial child custody cases lies in the city or county where the child resides at the time of the filing of the Petition, or where they have resided for the preceding six months if the child is removed from the city or county where the other parent resides, and that parent continues to live in that location. What this means is that in general Petitions are filed where the child lives. However, in the case where the child is relocated by the other parent, the case should be heard where the child use to live unless the child has been relocated for over six months, or the other parent no longer lives in that city or county.
In cases where an order has already been entered, the rule is slightly different. The party seeking to change custody must file where the last case was determined unless the case was transferred by that court to another. If the venue is no longer appropriate, the court can transfer the case after it is filed, if the request is made. The Court can also transfer the matter if they decide to do so, even if no one requests it.
Knowing the answers to these types of questions presented in a child custody case is fundamental to achieving a positive outcome. The lawyers at Bush & Taylor know those answers. Put their knowledge to work for you in your child custody case.
See what the Code of Virginia says about the venue in child custody cases: