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Frequently Asked Questions

Circuit Court Frequently Asked Questions -- for persons other than attorneys who file Divorces, Name Changes, or other matters.

The following Frequently Asked Questions are for persons other than attorneys who file Divorces, Name Changes, or other matters.

 

The Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court and the statutes of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, mentioned here may be found in the Law Library (open to the public; (757)926-8678) located on the first floor of the Justice Building at 2501 Washington Avenue, directly across the street from the Courthouse.
 

 

Question Image If I file my own divorce, is there a package or a model I can get from the Clerk's Office to help me?
    No. You are required to file your divorce in the Circuit Court which is a court of record and you must comply with all the applicable Rules in the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, the applicable statutes in the Virginia Code, 1950, as amended, and the local rules of the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Newport News).
Question Image If I file my own divorce, can I just give copies of the papers to my spouse?
    Yes, but this does not provide proper legal service. Legal service on your spouse must be by a manner authorized in §8.01-296, Code of Virginia, as amended, or by acceptance of service as set forth in §20-99.1:11, as amended.
Question Image After I file my divorce does the court let me know what to do next?
    No. You are required to see that the case goes forward and in so doing you must comply with all applicable rules and statutes, prepare and file all necessary papers, have the evidence taken (uncontested divorce), and prepare and file all Orders (Decrees) necessary to process and complete the divorce.
Question Image Do I file my divorce in Newport News?
    If (1) the Defendant in the divorce lives in Newport News as of the date of filing, or (2) if the two of you last cohabited as husband and wife in the City of Newport News, or (3) if you are the Plaintiff and live in Newport News and the Defendant is either a non-resident of Virginia or (4) his or her present whereabouts are unknown, you may file in Newport News. Please note that your reason for filing in Newport News must be clearly stated in your Bill of Complaint, and if you allege either (3) or (4), you will have to obtain service of your Bill of Complaint on the Defendant by publication (§8.01-316 and §20-104, Code of Virginia) or personal service outside Virginia (§8.01-320, Code of Virginia).
Question Image If I need advice on substantive legal matters concerning my divorce or a change of name petition, may I get that from the Clerk's Office or the Judges' administrative assistants?
    No. The Clerks, Judges and their personnel cannot provide you with legal advice. You will have to seek legal advice from those qualified and authorized to give that advice or sufficiently educate yourself concerning the relevant area of the law.
Question Image Where can I find the Code of Virginia containing the written laws of the Commonwealth, the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, local rules of the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Newport News), form books and other aids to use if I wish to investigate filing my own action?
    The Law Library for the City of Newport News is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located on the first floor in the Justice Building at 2501 Washington Avenue, directly across the street from the Courthouse.
Question Image How do I legally change my name?
    As an adult, you may petition the Circuit Court in the city where you live. The court will determine whether good cause exists under the circumstances alleged in the petition. Pursuant to §8.01-217, Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the following are required in the petition:

  1. The petition must be made under oath (you must swear to the truth of the allegations in the petition after having been placed under oath by a Notary and that Notary must acknowledge on the petition that you were placed under oath and swore to the truth of the allegations in the petition and that you did sign the petition);
  2. Your place of residence;
  3. The names of both of your parents, including the maiden name of your mother;
  4. Your birth date and your place of birth;
  5. Your felony conviction record, if any. If none, that must be stated;
  6. Whether you are presently incarcerated or a probationer with any court (if not, that must be stated);
  7. Whether your name has been previously changed [if so, list your former name(s)];
  8. Your affirmation that this name change is not sought for any fraudulent purpose and would not infringe upon any rights of others.
Question Image How do I legally change the name of my minor child?
    One or both parents of a minor child may petition the Circuit Court in the city where the child lives. The court will determine whether good cause exists under the circumstances alleged in the petition and whether the change is in the best interest of the child. Pursuant to 28.01-217, Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the following are required in the petition:

  1. The petition must be made under oath by parent or parents (you must swear to the truth of the allegations in the petition after having been placed under oath by a Notary and that Notary must acknowledge on the petition that you were placed under oath and swore to the truth of the allegations in the petition and that you did sign the petition);
  2. The place of residence of the minor child;
  3. The names of both parents of the minor child, including the maiden name of the mother;
  4. The birth date and birth place of the minor child;
  5. The felony conviction record of the minor child. If none, that must be stated;
  6. Whether the minor child is presently incarcerated or a probationer with any court (if not, that must be stated);
  7. Whether the name of the minor child has been previously changed [if so, list the former name(s)];
  8. The parent or parents petitioning must affirm that the name change is not sought for any fraudulent purpose, does not infringe upon any rights of others and is in the best interest of the child.

In the case of a minor with both parents living, if only one parent files the petition, the parent who does not join in the petition shall be served with reasonable notice of the petition, and, if he or she objects, a hearing before the judge must be scheduled. It is the responsibility of the petitioner to see that reasonable notice of the petition is served on the other parent. If a name change for a minor is allowed, it does not terminate any of the legal parental rights of a parent.
Question Image What should I do after I get my name changed?
    You should get from the Clerk's Office a minimum of three certified copies of the Order changing your name and then immediately make associates, businesses and others with whom you have dealings aware of your change of name. You should make sure you contact your nearest Social Security office to secure the necessary forms to submit for a new Social Security card (your Social Security number should not change). Social Security should notify the IRS of the change; however, you should verify this with Social Security. More information concerning your name change and Social Security may be found at the web site: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.html. You should also notify your local governmental offices, including the Voter Registrar's Office, the Commissioner of the Revenue, and the Treasurer's Office. Do not forget to take your old license, your new Social Security card and a certified copy of the name-changing Order to the DMV to secure a new operator's license.

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Contact Information for the Clerk and Judges of the Circuit Court

The Circuit Court Clerk and Courtrooms 1-4 are located at:
2500 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607

Courtroom 5 is located at:
2501 Huntington Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607

Clerk of the Circuit Court:
Hon. Rex A. Davis
(757) 926-8561
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Judges:

Hon. Charles P. Tench
Courtroom 1
Administrative Coordinator:
Renee Coltrain
(757) 926-8826


Hon. Timothy S. Fisher
Chief Judge
Courtroom 2
Administrative Coordinator:
Libby Green
(757) 926-8828


Hon. David F. Pugh
Courtroom 3
Administrative Coordinator:
Nicholas Evers
(757) 926-8834


Hon. H. Vincent Conway, Jr.
Courtroom 4
Administrative Coordinator:
Michelle Northway
(757) 926-7010


Courtroom 5
Administrative Coordinator:
Ann Davis
(757) 926-8837

 

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