Step 1: File the custody petition in court.
To get a custody order from a court, you will need to start by filing a petition in the Court Service Unit of a juvenile and domestic relations district court in the county where your child is living.1 For a list of courthouses in Virginia, please see our VA Courthouse Locations page.
You will be charged a fee of $25 unless you are a low-income person and apply to have that fee waived.2
On the petition, you will be asked to provide your address. If you do not want the other parent to know your address because you fear physical harm, be sure to tell this to the clerk and ask how your address can be kept confidential.
1 See Virginia’s Judicial System website, Frequently Asked Questions
2 Va. Code §§ 16.1-69.48:5; 17.1-606