The short answer is yes. Most child custody cases are initiated at the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (JDR) level. Virginia JDR courts have jurisdiction over both child custody and child support cases. Once your case is heard by the judge, a final order is entered. If you are unhappy with the final order entered by the JDR judge you have a right to appeal to circuit court.
However, you must be aware that you only have 10 days to appeal your case. Once you do so, your case will be heard de novo. This means that the circuit court will have a brand new hearing and you and your witnesses will need to testify again. The circuit court will issue its own order which will replace the JDR order.
If you are still unhappy with the decision, you have a few more options. The next highest court to appeal your case to is the Virginia Court of Appeals. The appeal must be made within thirty (30) days from the ruling in the lower court. This appeal will not be heard de novo. This means you cannot present any new evidence or witnesses. Instead, the Virginia Court of Appeals will review the lower courts record for any errors or mistakes. It is fairly rare for the Virginia Court of Appeals to find an error. Before appealing any case, it may be in your best interest to speak with a family law attorney. Appeals are costly and in some cases a request for a modification at a later date may be a better alternative.
Contact us at Holcomb Law to schedule your “No Hassle Legal Strategy Meeting,” (no sales pitch) at which our custody lawyer will answer ALL your questions and show you your options. 757-656-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our custody lawyer will take good care of you.