Civil cases are disputes between individuals or entities, or groups of individuals or entities. Typical civil disputes are ones in which monetary damages are sought stemming from tort (civil wrong) or breach of contract. Not all civil cases stem from monetary or contract disputes. Examples include, but are not limited to, divorce, annulment, adoption, partition of real estate, will and estate matters, name changes, appointments of church trustees and encumbrance or conveyance of church property.
The Circuit Court serves as the appellate court in civil cases appealed from the General District Court. Likewise, the Circuit Court serves as the appellate court in civil (domestic relations) cases appealed from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, typically child support, custody and visitation matters.
In civil cases where monetary claims range from $4,500 to $25,000, the Circuit Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the General District Court. Monetary disputes involving more than $25,000 fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.
In civil cases of a domestic relations nature, the Circuit Court has exclusive jurisdiction in divorce and annulment matters, including property settlement/equitable distribution of marital assets. Matters involving child support, custody, and visitation may or may not originate in the circuit court, depending on various factors.
When filing a civil case in the Circuit Court, the filing party is responsible for ensuring that all pleadings are prepared in accordance with the Code of Virginia and Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court. Unlike the two District Courts, the Circuit Court does not typically provide "forms" for use by litigants in filing civil suits. Hence, it is strongly recommended that the services of an attorney be employed when filing a civil action at the Circuit Court level.
NOTE: Clerk's Office personnel are strictly prohibited from providing legal advice.