program is a court-ordered parent education program specifically for adults
appearing before the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
for custody and visitation issues.
The program consists of two sessions that discuss the
effects of the parents’ separation on the children, development of
communication skills, child development, and the legal definitions of custody,
outlining what is meant by the Best Interests of the Child. The goal is to
provide the parents with information that will help them to develop a mutually
acceptable parenting plan. The FOCUS program is offered free of charge.
Mediation is offered by the Court Service Unit
through an Order of Referral by the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations
District Court in custody and visitation cases. A mediator acts as a
neutral third party to facilitate conversation between parents so that they may
arrive at a mutually acceptable parenting plan for their child.
Referral to mediation requires both parties' agreement
to participate. Mediators are certified by the Commonwealth of
Virginia. Mediation is offered free of charge.
mediators will mediate a variety of case types including child support and
divorce. More information on mediation can be found here.
Home study investigations are conducted by the
Court Service Unit only when ordered by the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic
Relations District Court in custody and visitation cases. These investigations
include research into the family life of the child(ren) in question in order to
determine what home placement would be in the best interest of the child.