Jurisdiction of Circuit Court
Civil jurisdiction of the Circuit Court includes:
- Monetary disputes involving more than $4,500 (concurrent jurisdiction with the General District Court for civil actions up to $25,000 and for personal injury or wrongful death up to $50,000)
- Civil/equity cases, such as adoptions, appointments of guardian/conservator, divorces, estate and will disputes, name changes and property disputes.
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. For the most current Civil filing fees, please access the Civil Filing Fee Calculation tool.
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.
- Civil action forms - Available through the Supreme Court of Virginia.
- Civil Case Cover Sheet (PDF) - Required to be included with all new civil case filings.
Note: Clerk's Office personnel are strictly prohibited from providing legal advice.
To request an interpreter for a civil case, submit a written request three to four weeks prior (PDF) to the hearing/trial with the following information:
- Date of request
- Case number
- Style/name of case (Plaintiff vs. Defendant)
- Name of party for whom interpreter is needed and their relation to the case (Plaintiff, Defendant or witness)
- Language required
- Date, time and duration the interpreter is needed
- Name, address and phone number of requesting attorney or party
The Clerk's Office prepares witness subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum (subpoenas for the production of records) for civil cases. View payment options.
Subpoena requests should be delivered to the Circuit Court Clerk's Office; a letter specifying the request must be provided. Subpoena requests should be in compliance with the Code of Virginia and Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court (PDF).
- Witness subpoenas - there is no clerk's fee for issuance.
- Subpoena duces tecum - there is a $5 clerk's fee which must be remitted along with the request.
- Any type of subpoena, to be served by the Sheriff - additional $12 service fee will be required for each subpoena.
- Any subpoenas that should be served by a Sheriff in another county will be forwarded to that Sheriff by the Clerk's Office.
- For Sheriff's service fees in Virginia Beach, please send a separate check made payable to "Virginia Beach High Constable."
Commissioners in Chancery
- Scott Bemberis
- John N. Clifford
- Vera Duke
- Michael S. Ewing
- Nelson H. C. Fisher
- William K. Grogan
- William D. Hamner
- Stephen A. Isaacs
- S. Craig Lane
- Kevin M. McGowan
- Mary Burkey Owens
- Robert W. Partin
- Philip A. Roberts Jr.
- J. Randolph Smith
Newspapers Approved for Orders of Publication
The publications/entities below have been approved for orders of publication:
The above list includes publications previously authorized by the Court. The Clerk 's Office can make no representation as to whether any publication is still in existence and/or whether they still publish legal notices. When permitted by statute and as specifically authorized by court order on a case-by-case basis, certain notices may be published via the Court’s website.
Common Civil Actions
View process information for common civil actions handled by the Circuit Court.
An adoption proceeding is very complex; therefore, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney.
Adoption files and proceedings are always handled in the most confidential manner. Therefore, no information will be released over the telephone. Adoption files are only made available for review under very specific circumstances.
Church Trustee Appointment or Removal
Appointment and removal of church trustees is confirmed by order of the Circuit Court. The request may be initiated by a letter on church letterhead or by petition from an attorney or applicant.
At the time the petition/letter is filed, a copy of the meeting minutes in which the trustee was appointed/removed must be included. For initial filings, a copy of the church discipline or by-laws should be included.
In order to initiate a divorce, it is necessary to file the proper pleadings prepared in accordance with the Code of Virginia and Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court (PDF). To confirm applicable fees, contact the Civil Division at 804-717-6981 or access the Civil Fee Schedule.
As there are no initiating forms available in the Clerk's Office, you will need to prepare the pleadings yourself or seek the assistance of an attorney.
- Property settlement agreements are not filed with the Court unless/until a divorce action is initiated.
- A taskforce of Virginia legal aid attorneys has developed a technology-based solution to help pro se (self-represented) litigants filing simple, uncontested divorces. The system is available at Virginia Legal Aid. Note: The Clerk’s Office makes this resource available as a courtesy and cannot guarantee that it will meet your needs.
- Original VS-4 forms, which are required to report information to the Virginia Department of Health's Office of Vital Records, can be provided by Clerk's Office staff upon request.
Name Change Pursuant to Divorce
If a party wishes to change their name due to divorce, a separate name change order must be submitted, and there will be an additional recording fee payable when the final decree of divorce is entered.
This fee is $26 for up to 10 pages. The $26 fee must be a separate check or money order, made payable to Chesterfield Circuit Court Clerk.
Guardian or Conservator Appointment
Family members may find it necessary to have a guardian and/or a conservator appointed to handle the affairs of an incapacitated individual. This type of proceeding is very complex; therefore, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney.
Once a Petition is filed, parties will be required to set a hearing with the legal assistant of the assigned Judge. The Judges' Chambers may be reached at 804-748-1333.
Once a hearing has been held and an order has been entered, the party named as a guardian and/or conservator cannot act in this capacity until he/she is officially qualified by the Clerk. Guardians and/or conservators are qualified through the Clerk’s Office’s Probate Division and qualification matters are handled by appointment.
At the time you schedule a hearing with the Judge, it is suggested that you also contact the Probate Division at 804-706-7680 to schedule an appointment for qualification. Schedule permitting, every effort will be made to accommodate parties on the same day of the hearing, provided the court order has been entered.
Marriage or Civil Celebrant Appointment
Petitions for authorization to perform marriages must be filed in the city or county where the petitioner resides.
An individual who is not an ordained minister may petition the Court for authorization to perform marriages pursuant to § 20-25 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. View the Petition for Authorization to Celebrate Rites of Marriage form (PDF).
Petitions can be submitted by mail to the Clerk’s PO box (ATTN: Civil Division) or may be delivered in person or by courier during public service hours. The filing fee is $54. View payment options.
At the time the petition is filed, a hearing will need to be set through the Clerk’s Office’s Civil Division, which can be contacted by calling 804-717-6981.
Timing for the hearing and Court decision will depend upon the assigned Judge’s docket; however, most hearings on these petitions are scheduled within a couple of weeks of the filing date.
A form application for adult and minor name changes is available on the Supreme Court of Virginia’s website.
Applications may be mailed or may be submitted in person (ATTN: Civil Division). Before mailing an application, the petitioner's signature must be acknowledged before a Notary Public. If submitting in person, the petitioner's signature can be acknowledged by a staff member. If electing to have a staff member provide the acknowledgement, wait to sign the application in the presence of the staff member and be prepared to present a government-issued photo ID.
It is suggested that you provide a telephone number with your filing.
Processing time varies. It is at the discretion of the Judge who will be assigned to the case to determine whether or not a hearing is necessary. Once the Judge has signed the Order for Name Change, Civil staff will forward a certified copy.
Operator's License - Restricted or Restored
A petition for a restricted or restored operator's license must be filed in accordance with the Code of Virginia and Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court (PDF). Certain forms are available on the Supreme Court of Virginia’s website.
Petitioners will be required to set a hearing through the Clerk's Office. To confirm applicable fees or to schedule a hearing, contact the Civil Division at 804-717-6981. Access the Civil Fee Schedule.
Wills and Estates
In the event a civil suit is necessary to resolve issues pertaining to an estate, there are no initiating forms available in the Clerk's Office. You will need to prepare the pleadings yourself or seek the assistance of an attorney.
If a hearing is necessary, parties will be required to set a hearing with the legal assistant of the assigned Judge. The Judges' Chambers may be reached at 804-748-1333.
View additional information regarding will and estate administration..