Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court
All persons aged five (5) and older must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth when entering the Chesterfield Courthouses. It is expected that visitors will supply their own face covering; however, the Courts will provide disposable masks for those visitors who do not have their own. Individuals without a face mask will not be permitted to enter the courthouse except for those who cannot safely wear a face mask because of a health-related condition.
The Court can conduct remote hearings as appropriate. Please see the information published below with dates for April 15-16, 2020, as well as Remote Appearances for complete information.
Beginning Wednesday, April 8, 2020, the Sheriff’s Office will initiate temperature screening of visitors at the main entrances of both courthouses as a condition of entry.
Screeners will be masked and gloved. If anyone is turned away for having a temperature at or above 100 degrees WHO IS ALSO A PARTICIPANT IN A HEARING, the Sheriff’s Office will immediately advise the presiding judge. Such persons MAY still participate in a scheduled hearing by telephone from outside the courthouse AT THE DISCRETION OF THE PRESIDING JUDGE.
Current Information Regarding Court Operations & Public Services
- Updated Circuit Court Clerk’s Public Notice (PDF), published Tuesday, April 13, 2021
- Updated J&DR Public Notice (PDF), published Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021
- General District Court Order (PDF), entered Wednesday, June 3, 2020
- Motion for Remote Hearing Form (PDF), published Thursday, April 16, 2020. (Form for use in Chesterfield Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court)
Public Advisory - New Policy:
Effective April 1, 2021, the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will allow portable electronic devices into the Courthouse. Portable Electronic Devices (“PED") are defined as cell phones, personal computers, tablets and smart watches. Court visitors may use the PED in the common areas of the courthouse, including but not limited to the lobby and hallways. Upon entry into the courthouse, the PED must be placed on silent mode and must remain silenced while in the Courthouse.
Court visitors are prohibited from taking any photographs, audio/video recording or live streaming.
The use of a PED is prohibited in the courtrooms, unless authorized by the presiding judge.
Any person using a PED in violation of this policy may be found in contempt of court and subject to penalties as provided by law.
With the assistance of many departments and agencies, Chesterfield Courts are making progress on a project to upgrade audio-visual technology in all 17 courtrooms.
12th District Judges
- Hon. D. Gregory Carr
- Hon. David Rigler
- Hon. Jayne A. Pemberton
- Hon. Scott D. Landry
- Hon. Vanessa L. Jones, Chief Judge
- Hon. M. Duncan Minton, Jr.
Clerk of Court
Laura Gardner Griffin
The 12th Judicial District is comprised of Chesterfield County AND the City of Colonial Heights; therefore, the six 12th District judges serve both localities. All six judges hear cases in Chesterfield Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday each week, one judge hears cases in Colonial Heights, leaving the remaining five judges to hear cases in Chesterfield.
Each locality has its own Clerk’s Office.
- For more information on the Chesterfield J&DR District Court’s docket, please visit Supreme Court of Virginia’s website.
- For more information on Colonial Heights J&DR District Court, please contact their Clerk’s Office at 804-451-0213.
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 all parties’ constitutional rights
Court personnel are not lawyers and are not permitted or allowed to offer legal advice. Legal questions should be addressed to competent attorneys only.
Each juvenile and domestic relations district court has a clerk’s office that
- Processes all case papers
- Keeps court records
- 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 (PDF) (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.
Every Judicial District in Virginia also has a Court Service Unit (CSU). The CSU provides
- intake services for all domestic-related issues and proceedings for juveniles
- juvenile probation supervision
- juvenile parole supervision
The 12th District Court Service Unit works closely with the Chesterfield and Colonial Heights J&DR District Courts.
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
For additional explanation
- Virginia Code Section 16.1-241 - What Virginia's J&DR District Courts can do.
- Virginia Code Section 16.1-243 - For questions regarding the appropriate venue for your case (i.e. which court your case should be filed with).
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
- Contact the Chesterfield Department of Social Services if you have questions regarding child abuse and neglect, or need to make a report regarding child or elder abuse.