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A Brief Summary of Virginia Family Law Statutes

The following is an index of common family law topics in the Virginia Code, with a brief summary of the statute.  All references are to the Virginia Code, which can be viewed online on the Virginia General Assembly’s website at: http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode

Disclaimer: The following is intended to serve as a summary only, not legal advice, and may become outdated as laws change.  Always consult an attorney.

Marriage

Entry into Marriage
  1. Strict Compliance: Marriages in VA require a license and strict compliance with VA statutory provisions or they are invalid. § 20-13
Prohibited Marriages
  1. Marriage entered into before dissolution of party’s previous marriage. § 20-38.1(A)(1)
  2. Marriage between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, whole, half, or adopted; marriage between uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, whole or half. § 20-38.1(A)(2)-(3)
  3. Marriage, without consent of guardian, where one or both parties under eighteen and not emancipated. §§ 20-45.1(A), 20-48, 20-49
  4. Marriage where parties lacked consent due to mental incapacity or infirmity. §20.45.1(B)
Annulment/Void Marriages
  1. Marriages void or voidable under the above statutes, and those entered into under fraud or duress, may be annulled (rendered void) by the court upon suit and proof of nullity. § 20-89.1(A)
  2. A party may seek annulment for undisclosed impotency, prior felony conviction, parentage of a child with someone other than the new spouse within ten months of the marriage, or prior prostitution. § 20-89.1(B)
  3. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over annulments. § 20-96

Premarital and Marital Contracts

1.  Premarital Contracts

  • Contract must be in writing, signed by both parties, no consideration is necessary, and it is enforceable after marriage. § 20-149
  • Can contract on anything not in violation of public policy or criminal statute. § 20-150
  • Contract void if entered into involuntarily. § 20-151(A)(1)
  • Contract void if unconscionable when executed, and before execution one party was not informed of other party’s financial obligations, and did not waive such a disclosure in writing. § 20-151(A)(2)
  • If marriage declared void, contract may be enforced to prevent inequitable result. § 20-151(C)

2.  Marital Contracts are lawful and are governed by the same rules as premarital contracts, except that they are immediately effective, and they need not be in writing if contained in a court order or contained in the court record and affirmed by the parties. § 20-155

Cohabitation, Putative Spouse Doctrine, and Mediation

  1. Lewd and lascivious cohabitation is a Class 3 misdemeanor; a repeat offense is a Class A misdemeanor. § 18.2-345
  2. If a child is born to unmarried parents who later marry, that marriage legitimizes the child. § 20-31.1
  3. Putative spouse: The full belief of the parties that their marriage is lawful and valid cures defects in the license or officiant.  § 20-31
  4. When one party challenges the validity of the marriage, the other party may sue to affirm. Such an affirmation will conclusively validate the marriage.  § 20-90
  5. Virginia does not recognize common law marriages.
  6. Mediation: In cases dealing with child custody or visitation, mediation shall be used instead of litigation when appropriate.  § 20-124.2

Divorce

  1. Grounds:
    1. Fault: Adultery, sodomy committed outside the marriage; conviction of a felony and at least one year imprisonment; cruelty; reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; abandonment.  § 20-91(A)(1)-(6)
    2. Divorce from bed and board: cruelty; reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; abandonment. § 20-95
    3. No-fault
      1. Couples with minor children: Lived separate and apart without cohabitation for more than one year.  § 20-91(A)(9)(a)
      2. Couples without minor children: Lived separate and apart without cohabitation for more than six months.  § 20-91(A)(9)(a)
  2. Defenses In actions for adultery:
    1. Continued cohabitation after knowledge of the fact obtained. § 20-94
    2. Occurred five years or more before suit. § 20-94
    3. Connivance. § 20-94
    4. Insanity is no defense in an action for abandonment.  §  20-93
  3. Service of process § 20-99.2
    1. By delivering a copy in writing to the party in person.  § 8.01-296(1)
    2. Substituted service
      1. Delivery to usual place of abode to family member age 16 or older. § 8.01-296(2)(a)
      2. Posting service on front door of usual abode, followed by mailing of service more than 10 days before court date. § 8.01-296(2)(b)
  4. Jurisdiction:  The circuit court has jurisdiction over divorce, annulment, marriage affirmation, and separate maintenance. § 20-96
  5. Residency requirements for marriage
    1. One of the parties must be a resident and domiciliary of Virginia for at least six months, and be domiciled and residing in VA at the time of the suit. § 20-97
    2. Virginia jurisdiction extends to servicemen stationed in VA for at least six months, and to those residing on ships whose home port is in VA. § 20-97(1)-(2)
    3. Jurisdiction extends to servicemen stationed overseas who were stationed or resided in VA for the six months prior to their deployment. § 20-97(3)
  6. Judicial separation — “Divorce from bed and board” available for cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, willful desertion or abandonment. § 20-95
    1. Merger: A DB&B may be merged into a no-fault divorce without notifying the other party upon application if one year has elapsed or if there is a separation agreement and six months has elapsed and no new children have been born or adopted. § 20-121
    2. Sua Sponte: Where grounds are cruelty or desertion, the court may decree a divorce if the statutory period has elapsed and in its opinion no reconciliation is likely. § 20-121.01

Marital Property

  1. Separate property, generally:
    1. Acquired by either party before marriage. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
    2. Acquired during marriage by inheritance or gift from nonparty. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
    3. Acquired during marriage from the proceeds of sale of separate property, if maintained as separate property. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
    4. Income received from separate property if not from personal effort. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
    5. Increase in value of separate property during marriage, unless marital property or efforts contributed to increases, and then only to the extent of such contributions. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
      1. Personal efforts must be significant substantially appreciate value. § 20-107.3 (A)(1)
  2. Marital property, generally:
    1. Titled in the names of both parties; § 20-107.3 (A)(2)
    2. All property acquired during the marriage which is not separate property; § 20-107.3 (A)(2)
    3. Retirement plans are presumed to be marital property in the absence of satisfactory evidence otherwise. § 20-107.3 (A)(2)
    4. Property is presumed to be marital property unless there is a deed, title or other clear evidence that it is separate property. § 20-107.3 (A)(2)
  3. Comingled property transmutes into marital property unless it was a gift or can be clearly traced back to the original owner. § 20-107.3(A)(3)
  4. Contingent property rights are extinguished upon decree of divorce, and converted from a tenancy by the entirety to a tenancy in common. § 20.111
  5. Equitable distribution.
    1. Equal distribution is default, but the court may divide unequally, considering:
      1. The contributions of each party to the family. § 20-107.3(E)
      2. Role in acquisition, care and maintenance of property. § 20-107.3(E)
      3. Duration of the marriage. § 20-107.3(E)
      4. Age, physical and mental condition. § 20-107.3(E)
      5. Circumstances contributing to divorce. § 20-107.3(E)
      6. Debts and liabilities. § 20-107.3(E)
      7. Nature of property, and its acquisition. § 20-107.3(E)
      8. Tax consequences. § 20-107.3(E)
      9. Use of property in anticipation of divorce or separation. § 20-107.3(E)
      10. Any other factors the court deems necessary or appropriate. § 20-107.3(E)
    2. The court will incorporate any marital agreements or prenuptial contracts. § 20-107.3(I)
    3. The court will not consider spousal support or child support when dividing property. § 20-107.3(F)
  6. Spousal support § 20-107.1
    1. Spousal support may be awarded for annulment, divorce, divorce from bed and board, separate maintenance, or when the court finds neither party is entitled to a divorce. Support must be paid to a living spouse. § 20-107.1
    2. No permanent support shall be awarded from a spouse who could have got a divorce on grounds of adultery, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that a denial would be unjust. § 20-107.1
    3. Spousal support may be made in periodic payments for any duration, or as a lump sum, or any combination thereof. § 20-107.1
    4. The court may also reserve the right of a party to receive support in the future, under a rebuttable presumption that the reservation will continue for 50% of the length of time between the date of marriage and the date of separation. § 20-107.1
    5. The court will consider the circumstances surrounding the dissolution of the marriage, specifically adultery and any other ground for divorce. In determining the award, the court shall consider:
      1. The debts, needs and resources of the parties; § 20-107.1
      2. The standard of living established during the marriage; § 20-107.1
      3. The duration of the marriage; § 20-107.1
      4. The age, condition of the parties, and special circumstances; § 20-107.1
      5. Whether the needs of any child would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home; § 20-107.1
      6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; § 20-107.1
      7. Property of the parties; § 20-107.1
      8. Earning capacity and employment opportunities; § 20-107.1
      9. Education costs for a party to enhance earning ability; § 20-107.1
      10. Career, education, and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage; § 20-107.1
      11. Contributions of one party to the education and career the other; § 20-107.1
      12. Any other factors, including tax issues, to reach an equitable distribution. § 20-107.1
  7. Future property
    1. All pensions and retirement plans acquired during the marriage and before separation are considered marital property. § 20-107.3(A)(2)
    2. The court may order payment of a percentage of any such pension or retirement benefit, but no such payment shall exceed 50% of the marital share. §20-107.3(G)(1)
    3. The court may order a party to designate a spouse or former spouse as irrevocable beneficiary of a survivor benefit or annuity plan, but not a life insurance policy. The court will decide who will pay the costs of the plan. § 20.107.3(G)(2)

Domestic Violence

  1. Protective orders:
    1. A court may issue a protective order in cases of family abuse to protect the petitioner and the petitioner’s family or household members. § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)  The order may:
      1. Prohibit family abuse and contact with the petitioner, family or household members of the petitioner; § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
      2. Grant the petitioner possession (but not title) of the residence to the exclusion of the respondent, and enjoin the respondent from terminating utilities to the residence; § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
      3. Grant the petitioner temporary possession (but not title) of a motor vehicle to the exclusion of the respondent; § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
      4. Require the respondent to provide alternative housing for the petitioner, and require the respondent to pay deposits and utilities for the alternative housing; § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
      5. Order the respondent to participate in treatment or counseling; § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
      6. Order any other relief necessary for protection, including temporary custody or visitation of a minor child, and temporary child support. § 16.1-279.1(A)-(A1)
    2. The protective order may be issued up to two years. Prior to expiration, the petitioner may move to extend the order.  § 16.1-279.1(B)
    3. The court will register the respondent with the Virginia Criminal Information Network. § 16.1-279.1(C)
    4. Violation of a protective order shall constitute contempt of court. § 16.1-279.1(D)
    5. The court may assess costs and attorneys’ fees against either party. § 16.1-279.1(E)
    6. Any protective order from another court shall be accorded full faith and credit and enforced as if it were an order of the Commonwealth. § 16.1-279.1(F)
    7. Either party may request a hearing to dissolve or modify the order. § 16.1-279.1(G)
    8. No fee shall be charged for filing or serving a protective order. § 16.1-279.1(J)
    9. A preliminary protective order may also be issued to the same effect as listed above. § 16.1-253.1
    10. Any judge may issue an ex parte emergency protective order to protect the health or safety of any person; § 16.1-253.4
      1. Such orders may prohibit family abuse and contact with the petitioner, family or household members of the petitioner; § 16.1-253.4
      2. The court may grant the petitioner possession (but not title) of the residence to the exclusion of the respondent, and enjoin the respondent from terminating utilities to the residence. § 16.1-253.4
      3. An emergency protective order shall expire on the third day following issuance. § 16.1-253.4
      4. A law-enforcement officer may request an emergency protective order. § 16.1-253.4
      5. The fact that the family or household member left the premises to avoid abuse shall not affect the issuance of an order. § 16.1-253.4
      6. An emergency protective order shall not be evidence of wrongdoing by the respondent. § 16.1-253.4
    11. The state shall maintain a computerized central database for protective orders. § 52-45
  2. Domestic violence, generally.  § 18.2-57.2
    1. Assault and battery against a family or household member is a Class 1 misdemeanor. § 18.2-57.2
    2. On conviction of assault and battery against a family or household member, if respondent has been previously convicted of two similar offenses against a family or household member within a period of 20 years, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony. § 18.2-57.2
    3. Whenever a warrant for assault and battery against a family or household member is issued, the magistrate shall issue an emergency protective order. § 18.2-57.2
  3. Child-Protective Services
    1. Child-Protective Services shall:
      1. Evaluate, strengthen, and develop programs within VA dealing with child abuse and neglect. § 63.2-1502
      2. Train workers to protect the rights and safety of children and families. § 63.2-1502
      3. Train workers to determine when abuse or neglect occurs in a hospital, institution, or public school, and to monitor and process such cases. § 63.2-1502
      4. Maintain a statewide child abuse and neglect database. § 63.2-1502
      5. Preserve confidentiality of records to protect the rights of the child, parents, or guardians. § 63.2-1502
      6. Train workers to detect family abuse, domestic violence, and neglect. § 63.2-1502
    2. CPS, a physician, or law enforcement officer may take a child into custody without parental approval when all of the following are met (§ 63.2-1517):
      1. Leaving the child in the care of the parent or other guardian presents:
        1. An imminent danger to the child’s life or health to the extent that severe or irremediable injury would be likely to result or
        2. Evidence of abuse would perish before a hearing can be held. § 63.2-1517
      2. A court order is not immediately obtainable; § 63.2-1517
      3. The court has set up procedures for placing such children; § 63.2-1517
      4. The parents or guardians are notified as soon as possible in person; § 63.2-1517
      5. The local department is notified; § 63.2-1517
      6. The court is notified and the agency taking custody obtains as soon as possible an emergency removal order, unless a preliminary removal order is issued within 72 hours, not including weekends or holidays. § 63.2-1517

Abortion

  1. It is a Class 4 felony to intentionally produce an abortion or miscarriage, whether by the administration of drugs or any other means, except as provided otherwise below. § 18.2-71
  2. It is a Class 4 felony to knowingly perform a partial birth abortion and thereby kill a human infant. § 18.2-71.1
    1. “Partial birth abortion” does not include: suction abortions, D&E abortions, or severing the umbilical cord of any infant after live delivery. § 18.2-71.1
    2. Procedures by a physician that, in reasonable medical judgment, are necessary to prevent the death of the mother, are exempt. § 18.2-71.1
    3. The mother may not be prosecuted for a partial birth abortion performed by a physician. § 18.2-71.1
  3. It shall be lawful for a licensed physician to perform an abortion or cause a miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy.  § 18.2-72
  4. It shall be lawful for a licensed physician to perform an abortion or cause a miscarriage during the second trimester provided it is performed in a licensed hospital or institution operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. § 18.2-73
  5. It shall be lawful for a licensed physician to perform an abortion or cause a miscarriage after the second trimester when all of the following conditions are met (§ 18.2-74):
    1. The abortion is performed in a licensed hospital or institution operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. § 18.2-74
    2. The physician and two consulting physicians certify that the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman. § 18.2-74
    3. If the baby is viable after the abortion, life support is available. § 18.2-74
  6. An abortionist must obtain the informed written consent of the pregnant woman, unless judged incapacitated or if the physician believes she is incapacitated, in which case he must obtain permission from a parent, guardian, committee, or other person standing in loco parentis to the woman, before performing an abortion, unless performed pursuant to a medical emergency. A physician who fails to comply is subject to a $2,500 civil fine.  § 18.2-76
  7. It is a Class 3 misdemeanor to encourage or promote abortion. § 18.2-76.1

Children, Parentage, and Grandparents

  1. Alternative Reproduction Techniques
    1. Determination of parentage in assisted conceptions. § 20-158 (A)
      1. The gestational mother is the child’s mother. § 20-158 (A)
      2. The husband of the gestational mother of a child is the child’s father, even if he makes a declaration of invalidity or annulment after the assisted conception, unless he sues within two years of the child’s birth and proves he did not consent to the assisted conception. § 20-158 (A)
      3. A donor is not the parent unless the donor is the husband of the gestational mother. § 20-158 (A)
      4. Death. A child resulting from the insemination of a wife with her consenting husband’s sperm is the child of the husband and wife even if either party died during the pregnancy.  § 20-158 (B)
        1. But if the death precedes implantation of an embryo resulting from the union of his sperm or her ovum with another gamete, the dead party is not the parent unless implantation occurs before notice of the death can be communicated to the physician or the dead party consented to be a parent in writing before the implantation.  § 20-158 (B)
      5. Divorce. A child resulting from insemination of a wife by her consenting husband is their child even if either filed for a divorce during the pregnancy.  § 20-158 (C)
        1. Divorce before implantation:  If divorce filed before implantation, then that party is not the parent of any resulting child unless implantation occurs before the party gave notice or the party consented in writing to be a parent.  § 20-158 (C)
    2. Surrogacy contracts, generally: Parties may enter into contracts where the parental rights of the surrogate and her husband are extinguished and the intended parents become the actual parents of the child.  Such contracts may be approved by the court.  § 20-159
      1. Determining parentage in court-approved surrogacy contracts. § 20-158 (D)
        1. The intended parents are the parents of any resulting child. § 20-158 (D)
        2. If the court invalidates the contract, the surrogate is the mother and her husband is the father. The intended parents may obtain parental rights through adoption.  § 20-158 (D)
      2. Determining parentage in non-court-approved surrogacy contracts.
        1. The surrogate is the mother unless the intended mother is a genetic parent, in which case the intended mother is the mother. § 20-158 (E)
        2. If either of the intended parents is a genetic parent, then the intended father is the child’s father. § 20-158 (E)
          1. Except if the surrogate is married and her husband is a party to the surrogacy contract, and the surrogate exercises her right to retain custody and parental rights, then the surrogate and her husband are the parents. § 20-158 (E)
        3. If neither of the intended parents is a genetic parent, the surrogate is the mother and her husband is the father if he is a party to the K. The intended parents may obtain parental rights through adoption. § 20-158 (E)
        4. Once the surrogate consent and report form is properly filed, the intended parents are the parents and the surrogate and her husband are not. § 20-158 (E)
    3. Rights of a child of ART: Such a child is only the child of the statutory parents; this applies to intestate succession, probate law, etc, if the child is born within at least ten months of one of the statutory parent’s death. § 20-164
  2. Grandparents
    1. Regarding custody or visitation of a child, the court may award custody to any party in the best interest of the child, including grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members. § 16.1-278.15 (B)
  3. Putative fathers
    1. The parent-child relationship between a child and a man may be established by:
      1. Scientifically tests showing at least a 98% probability of paternity. § 20-49.1
      2. A voluntary written statement of the father and mother made under oath acknowledging paternity. § 20-49.1
        1. Such a statement may be rescinded by either party within sixty days from the date on which it was signed unless a judicial order relating to the child is entered prior to the rescission. § 20-49.1
        2. Such a statement shall be binding unless the person challenging it proves it resulted from fraud, duress or a material mistake of fact. § 20-49.1
      3. If there is no statement, or if the probability of paternity is less than 98%, such relationship may be established otherwise by law, such as by adoption. § 20-49.1
    2. Standard of proof to establish parentage is clear and convincing evidence. § 20-49.4  Relevant evidence may include:
      1. Cohabitation or sex between the known parent and alleged parent at time of conception; § 20-49.4
      2. Scientific tests performed by experts; § 20-49.4
      3. Genetic tests; § 20-49.4
      4. Consent to or acknowledgement by general course of conduct of the common use of alleged parent’s surname by the child; § 20-49.4
      5. The alleged parent claiming the child on any statement, tax return or other document filed by him with a government agency; § 20-49.4
      6. An acknowledgment; § 20-49.4
      7. An admission by a male between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. § 20-49.4
    3. A man’s voluntary testimony under oath affirming parentage will prompt the court to require he fill out a form stating such. This “true statement” is admissible.  § 20-49.5

Custody and Visitation

  1. Rules in general.
    1. Upon ruling for divorce, separate maintenance, or that parties are not entitled to a divorce, the court may rule concerning custody, visitation, and support of the minor children of the parties. § 20-107.2
    2. When custody or visitation of children is at issue, the court shall consider the custody and visitation arrangements, including child support, prior to other considerations arising in the matter, and will try to preserve the dignity and resources of family members. Mediation will be used where appropriate. § 20-124.2(A)
    3. The court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the child. § 20-124.2(B)
      1. The court will try to give children frequent, continuing contact with both parents, and encourage parents to share in the raising of their children. § 20-124.2(B)
      2. There is no presumption of law in favor of either parent. § 20-124.2(B)
      3. The court may award custody or visitation to any person if clear and convincing evidence shows the best interest of the child would be served. § 20-124.2(B)
      4. The court may award joint custody or sole custody. § 20-124.2(B)
    4. The court may order child support. § 20-124.2(C)
    5. The court may order psychiatric evaluations to help determine the best interests of the child. § 20-124.2(D)
    6. The court may make any other orders necessary to enforce any such, including the authority to punish with contempt of court. § 20-124.2(E)
    7. Parents with certain criminal backgrounds may be enjoined from petitioning for visitation or custody for up to 10 years if in the child’s best interest. § 20-124.2(E)
  2. To determine the best interests of a child, § 20-124.3:
    1. Age and physical/mental condition;
    2. Age and physical/mental condition of the parents;
    3. Relationship between each parent and each child, e.g. positive involvement;
    4. The needs of the child re. siblings, peers and family;
    5. Role each parent has played in upbringing;
    6. Child’s present and future relationship with parents;
    7. The preference of the child;
    8. History of family abuse or sexual abuse;
    9. Anything else necessary and proper to the determination.
  3. Modification of custody orders, § 20-108:
    1. On petition of either parent, sua sponte, or on petition of the Department of Social Services.
    2. No retroactive modification.
    3. Military members’ petitions based on a change to active duty shall be expedited on the docket.
  4. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA)
    1. A child custody decision made by a Virginia court with jurisdiction is binding and conclusive. § 20-146.5
    2. Virginia courts may request the court of another state to, § 20-146.11:
      1. Hold an evidentiary hearing;
      2. Order production of evidence;
      3. Order evaluations respecting child custody;
      4. Forward the record, the evidence, and any evaluation to the VA court;
      5. Order a party or person with physical custody to appear before the court.
    3. Virginia courts will reciprocate the above with other states. § 20-146.11
    4. Virginia courts have jurisdiction over initial child custody determinations only if:
      1. Virginia is the home state of the child, or Virginia was within six months of the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent but a parent lives in Virginia; § 20-146.12
      2. A court of another state does not have jurisdiction or declined jurisdiction, and:
        1. There is a significant connection with Virginia other than physical presence; § 20-146.12
        2. Substantial evidence is available in Virginia concerning the child; § 20-146.12
      3. All courts with jurisdiction declined because Virginia is more appropriate; § 20-146.12
      4. No other court would have jurisdiction. § 20-146.12
    5. This is the only jurisdictional basis for child custody in Virginia courts. § 20-146.12
    6. Personal jurisdiction is not necessary or sufficient for child custody matters. § 20-146.12
    7. Virginia courts may not modify child custody decisions made by other states unless Virginia courts have jurisdiction, § 20-146.14, and:
      1. The other state determines that it no longer has jurisdiction or that a Virginia court would be more convenient; § 20-146.14, or
      2. A Virginia court or the court of the other state determines that none of the parties reside in the other state. § 20-146.14
    8. Duty to enforce: Virginia courts shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if in conformity with this act. Virginia courts may use any lawful remedy to enforce a child custody decision made by a court of another state.  § 20-146.24

Child support

  1. General rules of child support:
    1. There is a rebuttable presumption that the award resulting from § 20-108.2 is the correct amount of child support. § 20-108.1(B)  To rebut the presumption, the court shall weigh the following factors:
      1. Actual monetary support for other family; § 20-108.1(B)
      2. Arrangements regarding custody, including costs of visitation travel; § 20-108.1(B)
      3. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or under-employed; § 20-108.1(B)
      4. Marital debts for the benefit of the child; § 20-108.1(B)
      5. Court-ordered payments for life insurance coverage, education, etc; § 20-108.1(B)
      6. Extraordinary capital gains; § 20-108.1(B)
      7. Special needs of a child; § 20-108.1(B)
      8. Independent financial resources of the child; § 20-108.1(B)
      9. Standard of living established during marriage; § 20-108.1(B)
      10. Earning capacity, obligations, resources, and special needs of parents; § 20-108.1(B)
      11. Income-earning marital property; § 20-108.1(B)
      12. Tax consequences; § 20-108.1(B)
      13. Written agreements or orders pertaining to child support; § 20-108.1(B)
      14. Other factors necessary for equity. § 20-108.1(B)
    2. The court may order health care coverage or cash medical support. § 20-108.1(C)
    3. The court may order maintenance of life insurance policies and designate the children as beneficiaries for as long as child support is due. § 20-108.1(D)
    4. The court may order the tax exemptions to be divided among the parties. § 20-108.1(E)
    5. Child support payments shall not be subject to garnishment. § 20-108.1(G)
    6. The court may order vocational evaluations. § 20-108.1(H)
    7. Virginia courts that issue child support orders have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify if the order is the controlling order, and:
      1. Virginia is the residence of the obligor, obligee, or child; or
      2. VA is not the residence of the obligor, obligee, or child, BUT the parties consent to jurisdiction. § 20-88.39 (A)
    8. VA courts that issue child support orders do not have jurisdiction to modify if:
      1. All of the parties file with a VA court that a another state’s court has jurisdiction over at least one of the parties AND they consent to its jurisdiction; or
      2. The VA order is not the controlling order. § 20-88.39 (B)
    9. If another state’s court issued an order under substantially similar law that modifies a VA child support order, the other state’s court keeps jurisdiction. § 20-88.39 (C)
    10. A VA court may request another state’s court to modify a support order issued in that state. § 20-88.39 (D)
  2. Determining the child support amount
    1. Basic child support obligation is computed using the schedule in § 20-108.2 (B). Exemptions include:
      1. Parents unable to pay due to insufficient assets, and are: institutionalized in a psychiatric facility; imprisoned for life with no chance of parole; totally, permanently disabled; or otherwise involuntarily unable to produce income. § 20-108.2 (B)
    2. “Income” means income from all sources. § 20-108.2 (C)
    3. § 20-108.2 (C) (1)-(4): “Gross income” shall not include:
      1. Benefits from public assistance and social services;
      2. Federal SSI benefits;
      3. Child support received;
      4. Income from secondary employment to discharge a child support arrearage.
    4. Child support orders shall provide medical or dental expenses in excess of $250 per child, per year. § 20-108.2 (D)
    5. Extra costs of health and dental insurances for the children are added to the child support award. § 20-108.2 (E)
    6. Child-care costs will be added to the child support obligation. § 20-108.2 (F)
    7. Virginia uses the dual income model. § 20-108.2 (B)

Adoption

  1. § 63.2-1243:  Adults may be adopted under the following conditions:
    1. Adopter is a stepparent who has acted as parent for at least 3 months;
    2. Adoptee is a close relative, with no living parents, who has resided with adopter at least 3 months;
    3. Adoptee is birth child of adopter;
    4. Adoptee resided with adopter at least 3 months before age 18.
    5. Adoptee is at least 15 years younger than adopter AND they have known each other for one year.
  2. Minor children may be adopted.  § 63.2-1201
  3. Any Virginia resident, or a husband and wife jointly may adopt.  § 63.2-1201