Law & Legal & Attorney Children Law

How to Apply for Child Custody in Fredericksburg, Virginia

    How to Apply for Child Custody in Fredericksburg, Virginia

    • 1). Obtain the proper paperwork. Visit the Fredericksburg Courthouse to file a custody petition. If there is no existing custody order, you will need to use the Original Petition for Custody/Visitation form. Along with the petition, an affidavit must be filed.

    • 2). Complete the forms properly. The petition will need to state the reasons why you should be granted custody. The court determines custody based on the best interests of the child. If you have any questions or need help filling out the paperwork, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Law Library can assist.

    • 3). Submit the petition. You will need to file the petition by returning it to the Court Service Unit inside the courthouse. You will need to bring the affidavit and original petition along with two additional copies for each child involved. There is no cost to file the original motion for custody. A lawyer is not necessary to start the case in family court. After you file the paperwork, a judge will review the case. A date will be set for a custody hearing.

    • 4). Serve the other party. As the petitioner, you must make sure the respondent receives the papers. You should not personally hand the papers to them. It is best to have a friend or family member deliver the papers. The court will check to see that the other party was served properly.

    • 5). Enroll in the required seminar. An individual applying for custody must have taken the required Parent Education Seminar in order to obtain custody. This is a four-hour class that you receive a certificate from upon completion. Although the course can be taken after the judge rules on the case, it is best to have proof of completion available to the court before a decision is made.

    • 6). Attend the hearing. The judge's court attorney may contact you and the other party to settle the arrangement outside of court. If you cannot reach a custody agreement, the case will go to court. At this time, the judge may appoint an attorney to represent the child. Parents who are indigent in Fredericksburg have the right to a court-appointed attorney. Remember, issues of custody are never permanently settled. Specifics can always be altered based on changes in the case. The judge will have to weigh your platform carefully, so the better you present your case, the better your chances of obtaining custody.

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