The JDRDC handles many types of cases, all of which have to do with family problems or cases involving minors or family members.
You may have come to this court:
- Because a dispute is occurring between family members. This is called a civil case. Disputes may include child custody, visitation, or support, an adult physically abusing a family member, certain members of the household, or a child.
- Because a minor (a person under the age of 18) has been charged with an offense (such as robbery or assault). This is called a criminal case. For general information about or help with a criminal case involving a minor, call 703-246-2495.
- Because a minor has habitually skipped school, run away from home, or poses a danger to him/herself or others. This is called a status (CHINS) case. CHINS are initials for Child In Need of Services or Supervision. For general information or help with a status or CHINS case, call 703-246-2495.
The Circuit Court hears major trials and appeals of cases from other courts, issues marriage licenses, and handles divorces and adoptions. The General District Court addresses landlord/tenant problems, evictions, collections, adult traffic offenses, and some criminal cases. Both of these courts are nearby. For general information about or help with cases pending in the Circuit Court or General District Court, contact those courts directly.
Civil cases are usually started by a person(s) wishing to arrange for custody, visitation, or financial support for their children or themselves. Civil cases also may include obtaining a protective order for situations where the petitioner is being physically abused by a family member or by certain members of the household.
It is best to call Domestic Relations Services to make an appointment.
- Each time you call for an appointment, tell us if you need an interpreter.
- Each time you come for an appointment, hearing, or trial, please ask if there will be an interpreter available so that you understand your rights and responsibilities.
- If you must cancel or reschedule an appointment or hearing, please remind the worker to cancel or reschedule the interpreter also.
Is it best to call the office and schedule an appointment. Office hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. The best time to come to Domestic Relations is early in the day, otherwise, there may not be enough time to go through the entire process and you may have to return several times. Mondays, Fridays, and the days before a holiday or school vacation are the busiest days, so try to avoid those days.
To talk about a family abuse situation, call early in the day to make an appointment. You may be able to get an appointment the same or next day. Without an appointment, you may have to wait longer to talk to someone. Also, you may not be prepared with all the information you will need for the appointment.
To talk about custody, visitation, or support problems, call as soon as possible because it may take two weeks or more before you can meet with an intake counselor.
When you call for an appointment, we will ask you some questions.
Be sure to:
- Tell us if you are going to need an interpreter to help you at your appointments.
- Write down the time and date of your appointment.
- Make arrangements for child care. You may be talking to a counselor about things your children probably should not hear. Also, some appointments (like those concerning family abuse) may take several hours. Other appointments (like those concerning custody, visitation, and support) usually take about an hour. Appointments may take longer if you need the services of an interpreter.
- Make a note of what information and documents you need to gather and bring with you to your appointment.
- Learn and remember the name on the file. You will need to identify your case by the name on the file whenever you come to court about this case. For custody or a visitation case, the file is usually in the child's name. For a support case, give the name of the person paying support.
Date, time, and directions for your appointment.
- It is important to be on time. If you are late, the counselor may meet with someone else who is waiting, even if that person did not have an appointment. That means that you will have to wait longer when you get here.
Plan at least 30 minutes to find parking.
- It's best to use the Public Parking Garage on the street behind the courthouse (Page Avenue) so your car will not be ticketed or towed during your visit. Parking meters are NOT recommended, as you will not be able to leave the court to replenish them. Do NOT park in the employee parking lots (all flat lots) or you may be ticketed or towed.
Information necessary for your case.
- Before coming to court, put all the necessary information in a place where you will not forget it.
When you come to the Fairfax Courthouse for your appointment, go to the main entrance in the front of the building. Be prepared to walk through a metal detector and to have your bag or briefcase searched by a deputy. Anything that could be used as a weapon will be held by the deputy until you leave the courthouse.
Once through security, proceed to the 2nd floor, Domestic Relations, in Room 202. Tell the clerk who you are and when your appointment is scheduled. If you don't have an appointment, tell the clerk why you are there. If you have been here before regarding the same case, be sure to identify it by the name on the file.