DISCLAIMER: This website has been prepared for general informational purposes only. The information you see on this website, or by linking to other websites, is not legal advice and cannot replace the advice of an attorney. Viewing this website, completing an online application, or transmitting any e-mail message to SVLAS does not create an attorney-client relationship. In fact, unless you are already a client of SVLAS, your online application or e-mail may NOT be protected by attorney-client privilege. Also please remember that unencrypted e-mail may be intercepted by persons other than the intended recipient. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. If you have a legal problem and want to receive legal advice or representation, you should contact an attorney in your area. If you live in southwestern Virginia, have a low household income, and your problem is one that Legal Aid may be able to assist with, please consider applying for legal assistance from SVLAS.

CUSTODY - CHILD SUPPORT

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please apply for help immediately.

 
Because the demand is great and our staff are limited, SVLAS does not generally provide representation in custody or child support cases unless there have been incidents of domestic violence.
 
Fortunately, Virginia law allows you to file for custody and child support for each of your minor children without a lawyer. You do this by filing a Petition For Custody and a Petition For Child Support in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court in the city or county where you live. These two petitions are normally filed at the same time.
Who has rights to Custody of a Child? 
 
There is a Court Service Unit for each of those courts that can give you the correct forms and help you complete them.
Click here for a listing of all the J&DR Courts in Virginia.
 
There is a $25 fee to file a Petition For Custody, however, that fee can be waived if you are low-income and complete the waiver form at the time you file the Petition. There is no fee to file a Petition For Child Support.
 
If you and the other parent are in agreement about custody, the Judge will enter an Order outlining your wishes. If you are NOT in agreement, the Judge will consider where to place the child(ren) based on what the Judge considers to be in the best interests of the child(ren).
 
The Judge will award a monthly amount of child support based on a formula which considers the income of each parent.

For more legal information about CUSTODY and CHILD SUPPORT

What is a no fault divorce?
In a no fault divorce, you do not have to claim that your spouse did anything wrong, such as adultery or desertion.
You can file for a no fault divorce as soon as you have lived physically separate and apart from your spouse for either:
 
6 months—but only if:
  • you do not have any children under the age of 18 and have signed a written Separation Agreement dividing your property and resolving all other issues related to your marriage.
 
    OR
 
12 months—if:
  • there are no marital property or debt issues that need to be resolved. This separation must be continuous, without interruption, without cohabitation, and with the intent that the separation will be permanent.
 
If you and your spouse are in agreement, you can complete your own separation agreement by using our sample form:
Sample Separation Agreement
Can Legal Aid help me with a divorce?
 
Can you file for divorce without a lawyer?
If you live in Virginia and you and your spouse have resolved all issues concerning custody, support, property, and payment of your debts, then click here, you may be able to  create your own divorce pleadings.
For more legal information about DIVORCE

DIVORCE