Information about Virginia Family Law

The foundation of family and divorce law in Virginia is statutory. This body of law consists of legislation set forth in the Code of Virginia, passed and amended from time to time by the General Assembly, Virginia’s legislative body, and signed into law by the Governor. Those code sections are indexed at this site as Virginia Family Law Code Sections. The code sections are listed by cite and brief description, and are linked to the actual text of the Code of Virginia made available to the public through the Legislative Information System of the Virginia General Assembly. Most code sections related to divorce and family law in Virginia are included.

Virginia also has a common law tradition dating back to our historical connections with England. Under the common law tradition, judges create and modify law as part of the process of deciding cases. In Virginia, our courts of appeal (but not our trial courts) make law when they issue opinions in individual cases. The lawmaking role of the courts of appeal in divorce and family law cases is primarily focused on the interpretation of the code sections identified in the preceding paragraph.

Virginia has two courts of appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals. Parties involved in divorce and family law cases have an automatic right of appeal from the local circuit courts to the Virginia Court of Appeals, so most appellate decisions in this area of the law are from the Court of Appeals.

Family law decisions issued by the Virginia Supreme Court either pre - date the creation in January 1985 of the Virginia Court of Appeals, or involve an appeal from the Court of Appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Family Law Cases section of this site contains entries for over 900 family law - related opinions issued by Virginia’s appellate courts. The opinions are organized by topic, and each contains a brief annotation of important legal principles addressed as well as a link (when available) to the actual opinion text from the Virginia Courts website ( www.courts.state.va.us ).

The United States Supreme Court periodically hears and decides family law cases, as well as cases that have an impact on family law in Virginia. Several of those decisions are included in the Family Law Cases section of this site.

In addition to relevant code sections and cases, this site contains content regarding various Virginia family law topics, such as divorce, the division of assets and debts (equitable distribution), alimony (spousal support), child custody, visitation, child support, adoptions, tax issues, and other family law - related matters.

Divorce and family law are complicated with rules and exceptions set forth in both the Virginia Code and the Virginia case law. This site is intended for the use of the general public and family law attorneys in Virginia. Please do not consider this site to contain legal advice. An attorney can provide you with legal advice only after learning the specific facts of your case. Please consider the information contained at this site to be of general educational value only. Raynor & Farmer maintains this site as a free service to both the public and to the legal community. Content is constantly being added in our effort to provide the most current information available. If you notice any errors or non - functioning links, or if you have questions or suggestions for additional content, please contact Steve Raynor, Editor. If you are in need of legal representation in a divorce or family law case in Virginia, please contact Raynor & Farmer at 434 - 220 - 6066, or visit our website at www.raynorlawoffice.com. Thank you.

The assistance of Steven Morris, Shannon Ellis, Katie Fisher and Beth Brooks with this website is gratefully acknowledged