Portsmouth, VA asked in Child Custody for Virginia

Q: Hi I have a custody order in Maryland but we moved to Virgina I want to file for sole custody and change visitation.

But I don't have an address for the non-custodial parent. What do I do?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Christopher Miller
Michael Christopher Miller
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Vienna, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Virginia would only have jurisdiction if both parents and the child(ren) have moved from Maryland. Your move alone may not be enough. If you don't know where the other parent is, you can't be sure they moved from Maryland.

Assuming Va. has jurisdiction,

Va. Code § 20-146.26. Registration of child custody determination.

"A. A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this Commonwealth, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the appropriate juvenile and domestic relations district court in this Commonwealth:

* * *

3. Except as otherwise provided in § 20-146.20, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered."

You will use a FORM DC-582 to register the Md. order in Va.

Va. Code § 20-146.20 says

"A. In a child custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child's present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the past five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party:

* * *

3. Knows the names and addresses of any persons not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

B. If the information required by subsection A is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished."

So, if you can't/don't provide the information, the court will stop the proceeding to figure out what to do next.

Va. Code § 20-146.7. Notice to persons outside state.

"A. Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this Commonwealth may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this Commonwealth for service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is attempted or made. Notice may also be by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the person to be served. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice and an opportunity to be heard but may be by publication pursuant to §§ 8.01-316 and 8.01-317 if other means are not effective.

B. Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the law of this Commonwealth or by the law of the state in which the service is made."

So, if nothing else, ask the sheriff to serve at the last know address, send notice by certified/registered mail, return receipt, and, if necessary, service notice by publication.

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