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Richmond FAMILY LAW

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WhitbeckBennett represents clients all through the Richmond area from its office in Richmond, Virginia.  We represent in divorce, custody, support and all other aspects of family law in Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County and all other areas near our Richmond office.

Divorce in Richmond

Divorce case are heard in the Circuit Courts in the courthouse in the city/county where your divorce is occurring.  For example, in Richmond City, divorce cases are heard the Court in the city limits and in Henrico County, cases are heard in the county courts.  Circuit Courts can also hear all other aspects of family law.  Some family law cases can also be heard in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court which are located in the same city and usually the same courthouse as the Circuit Courts.  The cases that can be heard in that court include:  child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence protective orders, abuse and neglect of children and grandparent’s rights cases.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge in District Courts hearing family law cases.

Whether your case is in Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Richmond City or any other locality accessible to our Richmond office, clients need divorce attorneys experienced in dealing with all aspects of a divorce, including issues related to marital property, taxes, spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation, and pre & post-divorce planning.

Our Richmond office attorneys have experience in litigating child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution issues, including financial matters, business issues and all other aspects of property division in divorce cases.  Our team can also help you in divorces involving more concentrated problems such as mental illness/substance abuse, child and teen issues, children with special needs, and school choice and other educational issues. We have an attorney who is a professor of mental illness law at a distinguished law school, who formerly served as a judge for hearings to commit mentally ill individuals and who is affiliated with mental illness advocacy groups.

Our attorneys are trained as and have served as Guardians ad litem for children and have extensive experience litigating divorce cases involving child custody.  Our attorneys are familiar with local law enforcement officers, social workers and school professionals.  We also have experience in school choice issues, special needs education and dealing with local school boards and school personnel.

Child Custody Cases in Richmond

WhitbeckBennett maintains an office in Richmond, Virginia and we represent custody cases in Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County and all other areas near our Richmond office.

Child custody cases are heard in the Circuit Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court where your child lives.  The Circuit Court can hear all types of family law cases including appeals from the JDR Court.  The JDR Courts can hear everything but divorce cases, including:  child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence protective orders, abuse and neglect of children and grandparent’s rights cases.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge in the Loudoun County District Courts hearing family law cases.

Whether your case is in Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Richmond City or any other locality accessible to our Richmond office, you need a lawyer experienced in dealing with all aspects of your custody case.  Our team can also help you in custody cases that are more traditional or in cases involving more concentrated problems such as mental health issues/substance abuse, child and teen issues, children with special needs, and school choice and other educational issues. We have an attorney who is a professor of mental health law at a distinguished law school, who formerly served as a judge for hearings to commit mentally ill individuals and who is affiliated with mental health advocacy groups.

Our attorneys are trained as and have served as Guardians ad litem for children and have extensive experience litigating divorce cases involving child custody.  Our attorneys are familiar with local law enforcement officers, social workers and school professionals.  We also have experience in school choice issues, special needs education and dealing with local school boards and school personnel.

Child and Spousal Support in Richmond

To get child support in localities like Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, you must file Petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) in the county where your child lives or as part of a complaint for divorce filed in the Circuit Court.  The Circuit Court is also located at your local county courthouse.  Our firm’s founder John Whitbeck is a former Substitute Judge who has heard and decided to support cases in JDR. 

Spousal support cases are most often filed in your county/city in connection with your divorce case.  You cannot get spousal support unless you are married.  Most cases are filed in the County Circuit Courts like Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, etc.  You also have the option of filing for spousal support in JDR but that is less common in most counties in the Richmond area.   

All the judges in your local county hear child support and spousal support cases.  While judges normally follow the Virginia child support guidelines, they sometimes deviate from those guidelines based on the circumstances of a particular case.  Courts are very different around Richmond areas, so it is very important you have an attorney experienced in the particular courthouse and with the particular judge hearing the case.  This is especially true in some counties where there are commonly used spousal support guidelines that may not be used in other counties.  Having an attorney who has actually litigated spousal support cases in your particular county is very important to get the best outcome you can.  Our child and spousal support attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases in Virginia.   

Our firm’s attorneys can assist you in all aspects of child and spousal support whether you are filing in Circuit Court or JDR, and regardless of how difficult your case.  We have decades of combined experience in divorce and support matters in Virginia, and litigate in front of judges on a weekly basis.   

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders in Richmond

The courts around the Richmond area such as Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County will issue three types of protective orders.  If the violence or threats you are receiving come from a family member or spouse, the and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) your local city or county will hear your case.  If you experience threats or violence from someone other than a family member or spouse, your case will be heard by a judge in your county General District Court (GDC), also located at the courthouse in your city or county.  

Emergency Protective Orders: These can be issued around the clock every day of the year. Because of the emergency nature of these, they may be issued ex parte, which means no notice is given to the defendant or alleged abuser. They expire 72 hours after issuance, and until 5 p.m. the following business day if the court is not in session when the order expires.  Emergency Protective Orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the alleged respondent and the petitioner and their families, and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  However, they only last for 72 hours so if you fear additional acts of abuse you would then proceed to seek a preliminary protective order.  You can obtain these orders by going to the County Magistrate’s office usually located in the local jail.  You also can get assistance in getting these orders through your local police agency.    

Preliminary Protective Orders: You can seek a Preliminary Protective Order with or without previously having the 72-hour Emergency Protective Order.  These preliminary orders remain in force for 15 days, or until the court holds a hearing on the matter.  You will have to file a petition and affidavit in the JDR or GDC to get a Preliminary Protective Order.  Preliminary Protective Orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner and their families, and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  They also can keep the respondent from terminating utilities to the home, give temporary possession of a car and require the respondent to provide suitable alternative housing for the petitioner.  However, without conducting a full hearing and getting a Permanent Protective Order, these will expire after no more than 15 days   

Permanent Protective Orders: When a judge issues a Preliminary Protective Order you will have the option to extend the order up to two years by seeking a Permanent Protective Order.  Usually, the hearing is set by the judge no more than 15 days after you get the Preliminary Protective Order.  These orders prohibit further acts of family abuse, prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner and their families, and can give the petitioner sole possession of the family home.  However, they can also grant temporary custody and visitation of a minor child, can order the respondent into anger management or other treatment, and give the petitioner other relief necessary to prevent further abuse.  They also can keep the respondent from terminating utilities to the home, give possession of a car and require the respondent to provide suitable alternative housing for the petitioner if necessary.  You can also get an award of attorneys’ fees if you had to hire an attorney to get the order.  You don’t have to file anything more    

Judges in JDR and GDC all hear protective order cases.  This is true in Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, and all other Virginia localities  It is important to have an attorney experienced in domestic violence litigating your case your particular county or city.      

Adoption in Richmond

Richmond area families often times choose to adopt children for a multitude of reasons. Whether you live in Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, or anywhere else in Virginia, adoption procedures can be very different in particular courts.  Once you adopt a child, your legal right to that child is the same as if he or she was born into the family biologically. It is important to have an experienced adoption attorney help you with an adoption to ensure it is finalized correctly. You also want to make sure you research what options are available to potential parents.  Our firm helps clients with adoptions in all areas of accessibility to our Richmond office including Richmond City, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Goochland County, Powhatan County, etc.   

Some of the options available to potential parents in for adoptions include: foster care adoptions, infant adoptions, stepparent adoptions, international adoptions, etc.  Potential parents can adopt children either through agencies (public and private) or independently directly with birth parents in either a closed or an open adoption. The public agency that assists with adoptions is the local social services agency, often called the Department of Family Services.   

In some instances, adoptions can be challenged or even reversed by petitioning the Circuit Court in the particular county or city you live in.  If they are unchallenged, your local Circuit Court will finalize adoptions.  

John Whitbeck

John Whitbeck

Partner

Kristin Glenn

Kristin Glenn

Senior Associate

Michael Lehr

Michael Lehr

Associate

Family Law 

Divorce

Child Custody

child protection

Child and Spousal Support

stone throw

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

child help

Adoption

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