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Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Providing free civil legal services since 1972

Scales of Justice



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.   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.

Custody and Child Support Presentation:  complete this presentation, answering all the questions honestly, to find out legal information about custody and child support that is tailored to your individual circumstances.


Written legal information is available      CUSTODY AND CHILD SUPPORT