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About Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
 
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Contact Us

Clerk
Laura Gardner Griffin 

Orders of Publication 

Phone Numbers
804-748-1379
804-717-6043(FAX)


Address
7000 Lucy Corr Boulevard
Chesterfield, VA 23832 

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Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
About Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

Who we are

Juvenile and domestic relations district courts differ from other courts in their duty to protect the confidentiality and privacy of juveniles and their families who have legal matters before the court. In addition, it

  • protects the public and holds the delinquent juveniles accountable
  • considers services needed to provide for rehabilitation
  • does not conduct jury trials
  • protects victim rights and constitutional

What we do

The juvenile and domestic relations district court handles cases involving:

  • Juveniles accused of delinquent acts, traffic infractions or status offenses
  • Children in need of services or supervision
  • Children who have been subjected to abuse or neglect, or abandoned
  • Children whose custody, visitation, support or parentage is a subject of controversy
  • Children to whom relief of custody or termination of parental rights is sought
  • Children in foster care and who are subjects of entrustment agreements
  • Minors seeking emancipation or work permits
  • Family or household members who have been subjected to or accused of abuse
  • Adults accused of child abuse or neglect, or of offenses against a family or household member
  • Spouses seeking support after separation
  • Enforcement of support orders
  • Court-ordered rehabilitation services
  • Court consent for certain medical treatments  

When Called to Court  

All persons required to appear before the juvenile and domestic relations district court:

  • Should arrive at the time and place stated on the petition, summons, bail form or subpoena
  • Be ready when the case is called into the courtroom
  • Remain until the case is called; to do otherwise is a criminal offense

The court does not have child care services; therefore, the only children who should be brought to court are those children involved in the case or whose presence has been requested or required by the court, an attorney or a probation officer

Who works with the courts

Court personnel are not lawyers and are not permitted or allowed to offer legal advice. Legal questions should be addressed to competent attorneys only. 

Court Clerk  

Each juvenile and domestic relations district court has a clerk’s office that

  • Processes all case papers,
  • Keeps court records, and
  • Provides information to the people involved in a case (to the extent permitted by law)

Anyone wishing to make a witness appear at a court hearing may request the issuance of a subpoena (a document used to require a person to come to the court hearing) at the court clerk’s office.

Note: While court personnel are not permitted to offer legal assistance, they can provide general procedural information. Because of confidentiality laws, the clerk’s office can often only provide very limited information about a case and only to those people involved with the case.

Court Service Unit (Juvenile Probation Unit)

Other Agencies  

There are many agencies authorized to provide such services as may be ordered by the judge to the families appearing before the Court.  For example: 

  • Welfare and social service agencies are in frequent contact with the court in certain types of cases.
    • They perform the initial investigation in abuse and neglect cases
    • Juveniles may be committed to such agencies when they are removed from home

Lawyers 

The right to be represented by a lawyer in this court extends to:

  • Juveniles involved in delinquency cases
  • Juveniles alleged to need services
  • Juveniles alleged to need supervision
  • Abused and neglected juveniles
  • A juvenile who is the subject of
    • an entrustment agreement
    • a request for relief of custody
    • a parentage controversy
  • Adults before the court on criminal charges
  • Adults faced with loss of their parental rights or charged with child abuse or neglect
  • All other persons the court decides require a lawyer’s services

Guardian ad litem

The court appoints a guardian ad litem (a lawyer who represents the juvenile’s best interests) to represent all juveniles alleged to be

  • Abandoned, neglected, or abused,
  • The subject of either an entrustment agreement (in which the parents give up their parental rights and transfer care and custody of the juvenile to an agency)
  • The subject of a court proceeding to terminate residual parental rights (for all rights and responsibilities to the juvenile), or whose parents desire to be relieved of care and custody

Waiving representation

Adults and juveniles may waive attorney representation.

  • Juveniles and their parents must knowingly waive representation in writing. 
  • The judge must agree that this waiver is consistent with the interests of the child.
  • If the juvenile is charged with an offense that is a felony, then the juvenile must consult with an attorney and both must sign a waiver to be filed with court records of the case.
  • The court must find that this waiver is made free and voluntarily.

Obtaining a lawyer

Those who want to hire a lawyer and have not had time to do so must consult with the Clerk’s Office.  Please see the Court’s continuance policy regarding what is considered good cause to grant a continuance.

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