AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
The Court recognizes that there are persons with special needs who use the Court. Any person needing special accommodation should contact the Court Administrator at 703.746.4123.
The Clerk’s Office scans all documents that are submitted to the office for filing. When printing forms from www.courts.state.va.us, make sure that you use the “Print for Submission to Court” button at the top of the form, rather than using the print feature of your web browser. The Clerk’s Office will not accept any document where typing is over a grayed background, due to the inability to read the document after scanning.
When submitting exhibits for filing, put the exhibit number on the first page of the exhibit - do not use pages with tabs.
SETTING TRIAL DATES
It is not necessary to attend Term Day or Status Conference in order to obtain a trial date. Attorneys are encouraged to set trial dates by telephoning the Judges’ Chambers at 703.746.4123. All cases should be set in this fashion, except those involving a good faith dispute over whether or when a trial date should be set. Counsel must confirm by filling-out, signing, and returning a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order for entry by the Court.
UNIFORM PRETRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER
A Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order is required for all cases and shall be in the form prescribed by Rule 1:18 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia and shall be entered at the time the case is set for trial.
TERM DAY - CIVIL
There are six (6) terms each year for the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria. The Term Days are the second Monday in January, March, May, July, September and November at 9:00 A.M. Should a Term Day fall on a holiday, it will be held the next day Court is open.
Praecipes for Term Day must be filed with the Clerk of the Court no later than 5:00 P.M. the Wednesday preceding the Term Day.
STATUS CONFERENCES - CIVIL
Four months after a civil action has been filed, a Status Conference is scheduled for the purpose of choosing a trial date, if not already set. Status Conferences are held on the second Monday of every month at 9:00 A.M. If both sides fail to appear, the Court will enter an Order of Dismissal, dismissing the case from the active case docket.
For Term Day or Status Conference, when your case is called, look at the available trial dates, which are posted in the courtroom, and advise the Court:
- The date or dates you are choosing;
- The number of days anticipated for trial;
- Whether the trial is to be a jury trial; and
- The nature of each case.
NOTE: Mediation is recommended in all disputed custody cases; and uncontested divorce matters should be set on the Ore Tenus Docket.
Attorneys setting cases for other attorneys should always obtain such information before agreeing to set the case.
General District Court and Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court civil appeals cases will be noticed for a Status Conference for the purpose of setting a trial date.
MOTIONS IN LIMINE
Motions in limine should be heard prior to trial on Motions Day or on the day of trial if less than 5 minutes.
Continuances are granted only by permission of a Judge upon good cause. A request for a continuance may be heard on a Motions Day or by a conference call at 8:45 A.M. Conference calls are scheduled by appointment with Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123). Continuances are not granted because discovery has not been completed.
Infant settlements, appointments of guardian, fiduciary matters, and emergency hearings may be scheduled at 9:00 A.M. by appointment with the Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123).
The Court requires a pretrial conference in all cases scheduled for three (3) days or more, and in all equitable distribution cases. The pretrial conference will be held approximately one month before trial at 9:00 A.M. In addition, any party in any case may ask for and receive a pretrial conference. Attorneys or parties must telephone Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule the conference.
Upon agreement, the parties in any case may request a settlement conference. In order to schedule such a conference, a party must telephone Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123). Not less than five days prior to the date of the conference, the parties shall file with the Clerk’s office brief factual statements of the case from their viewpoints and statements of the amounts or conditions of demands or offers. To the extent possible, the Judge presiding over the settlement conference will not hear the case.
All attorneys should come to the settlement conference with decision-making and settlement authority. The client or authorized representative must be available by phone during the conference.
NOTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT
When a case is settled, counsel must call the Judges’ Chambers immediately so that it can be removed from the docket and another trial scheduled in its place. This will eliminate the Court’s unnecessary review of the file.
In the event of a last minute settlement or voluntary dismissal of a jury trial, notify the court IMMEDIATELY to avoid possible sanctions. During business hours call 703.746.4123. After business hours call 703.746.4347. NOTIFICATION MUST BE RECEIVED BY 6:15 A.M. ON THE DAY OF TRIAL TO CANCEL THE JURY AND AVOID PAYING JUROR COSTS.
Jury and non-jury trials ordinarily commence promptly at 10:00 A.M. Pretrial motions and motions in limine which exceed 5 minutes should be noticed and argued on Motions Day and not on the morning of trial.
Counsel should pre-mark exhibits prior to trial. Exhibit stickers may be obtained from the Clerk’s Office. Due to space limitations, the Clerk of Court requests that exhibits not be filed with the Clerk prior to trial. However, the list of exhibits should be filed with the Court in accordance with the Pretrial Order with copies of the exhibits made accessible to opposing counsel.
Upon the conclusion of trial, counsel should prepare an order allowing the removal of exhibits from the Clerk’s Office.
Plaintiff’s exhibits should be marked numerically and the defendant’s exhibits should be marked alphabetically. Do not use pages with tabs.
Counsel should file and exchange instructions as specified in the Pretrial Order. Efforts should be made to review the instructions prior to the conclusion of the evidence. Plaintiff’s instructions should be marked numerically and defendant’s instructions should be marked alphabetically.
CIVIL MOTIONS DAYS
Civil Motions Days are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 10:00 A.M., except for May – please check with the Clerk’s Office to determine the change for the May schedule.
Any party to a civil action who wishes to have a motion heard must notify the Clerk of Court by praecipe or notice before 5:00 P.M. on the Wednesday preceding the Motions Day. The party setting a case for Motions Day must give at least seven (7) days notice to all counsel of record and parties (if pro se). This means that counsel must take steps to insure that opposing counsel actually receives the motion no later than the Wednesday preceding Motions Day.
All responses should be filed no later than the Monday preceding the Motions Day.
If memoranda or briefs are filed, notice and filing times shall be in compliance with Rule 4:15 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Courtesy copies should be delivered to Judges’ Chambers and clearly marked “copy.” Authorities cited from foreign jurisdictions must be attached to any motion.
If counsel wishes to remove the case from the Motions Day Docket by agreement with other counsel, the moving party must call the Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) as early as possible so that the Judge will not unnecessarily review the motion.
If a motion is continued from one Motion’s Day to another by agreement of counsel or by the judge in open court or by conference call, a new praecipe or notice must be filed with the Clerk’s Office.
Motions are limited to thirty (30) minutes. In cases requiring a longer time, counsel should call the Judges’ Chambers to schedule a hearing at 2:00 P.M. on Motions Day and also file a notice with the Clerk of Court. All parties must agree to have their case heard at a 2:00 P.M. hearing.
Orders reflecting the Court’s rulings should be presented promptly and should reflect the name of the presiding Judge.
For the following types of motions, counsel should take note:
- Disputes over the language of a proposed decree or order. Counsel shall confer and attempt to reach an agreement on the wording of the decree or order. Failing such agreement, on or before a date to be agreed upon between counsel but no later than fifteen (15) days after the date of the hearing at which the ruling was made, each counsel shall file with the Clerk his respective proposed decree or order and a concise written argument in support of his position. The order or decree should reflect the name of the appropriate judge. Both proposed orders or decrees shall be signed by both counsel of record, preserving objections as necessary and appropriate. The Court will enter the order it deems appropriate, mark the other order refused, and the Clerk shall send copies of the order entered to all counsel of record.
- All routine discovery disputes including, but not limited to, motions to compel. Counsel shall confer and attempt to settle such disputes in accordance with the Rules of Court.
- Motions to amend pleadings. Counsel seeking leave to amend any pleading shall provide a copy of the proposed amendment to opposing counsel and the Court. Counsel should bear in mind that Virginia law requires such amendments to be liberally granted in the interest of justice.
ORE TENUS DIVORCE HEARINGS
UNCONTESTED divorces may be heard by the Court at 9:00 A.M. The Complainant’s attorney should call the law clerks (703.746.4123) to schedule a hearing. Hearings are not scheduled on Motions Days, Commonwealth Days, or Traffic/Misdemeanor Appeals Days.
Complainant must file the proposed Final Decree, the Property Settlement Agreement (if any), proof of service and notice, and the Seminar Certificate (where required) with the Clerk’s office at least one week prior to the hearing date. The Court may not hear the matter on the scheduled date if the Complainant fails to follow these procedures.
DIVORCE HEARINGS BY DEPOSITION
Uncontested divorces are rarely heard by deposition and must first be approved by a Judge. The depositions should be filed with the Clerk of Court with the Final Decree.
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION CASES
In divorce cases involving equitable distribution, child support and/or spousal support, counsel for the parties must meet at least ten (10) days prior to trial and prepare in writing for submission to the Court no later than five (5) days prior to trial agreed factors under Va. Code §§20-107.1, 107.3(E), 108.1(B) and computations of guideline support under Va. Code §§20-107.2 and 108.2. If the parties cannot agree, each should submit his/her own proposed factors.
REFERENCE OF DIVORCE CASES TO SPECIAL COMMISSIONERS
By order of this Court (Chancery Book 67, Page 111) upon agreement of all parties, a divorce case may be referred to a Special Commissioner in Chancery. The Special Commissioner files a report stating his/her findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Unless otherwise provided in the Decree of Reference, the Special Commissioner does not hear evidence relating to the custody and maintenance of minor children of the parties, the amount of spousal support, or the equitable distribution of marital property.
PENDENTE LITE SUPPORT
In order to expedite the support hearing, the parties to a contested hearing should:
- Prepare and sign financial statements indicating the financial needs and incomes of the parties;
- Review the child support guidelines contained in §20-108.2 and determine the appropriate amount suggested therein; and
- Make a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter between themselves.
A Grand Jury is impaneled the second Monday of every month at 9:00 A.M.
For setting of trial dates in criminal cases, defense counsel should contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office immediately upon receipt of notice of indictment by the Grand Jury. Criminal cases are tried within sixty days of indictment. The Court furnishes the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office with a list of available trial dates for the sixty day period following each Grand Jury session, and trial dates may be set by telephone with the appropriate prosecutor. Selection of dates for motions and trial must be completed within one week of indictment.
Non-jury criminal cases, motions and sentencing hearings are heard every Thursday of every month. Attorneys must contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to place a case on the docket. Motions for reconsideration must be addressed to the Judge in a letter stating any new information that should be brought to his attention. The Judge may then give his permission to place the matter on the docket.
Bond motions may be scheduled at 9:00 A.M. by calling the Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123). Notice of such motions should be given to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office the day preceding the hearing.
In order to allow both sides adequate time to prepare, substantive motions in criminal cases whether by prosecution or defense shall be noticed for Thursday Commonwealth Days by noon on the preceding Friday and for Tuesday Traffic and Misdemeanor Appeals Day by noon on the preceding Wednesday. Counsel may seek leave of Court to file motions with less notice in unusual circumstances.
TRAFFIC & MISDEMEANOR APPEALS
Traffic and misdemeanor motions, and bench trials, and petitions for restoration of driver’s license are heard on the third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 A.M. Jury trials of these cases commence at 11:00 A.M.
In all cases where a certified copy of an order or other document is desired, the attorney or party should furnish self-addressed, stamped return envelopes for all counsel and pro se parties.
ENDORSEMENT OF ORDERS AND DECREES
Attorneys’ names, addresses and telephone numbers must appear on all pleadings and orders. Attorneys for both sides must endorse all orders and decrees. All judgment orders shall specifically name the defendant(s) upon which the judgment is granted in the last paragraph of the order.
PAYMENT OF FUNDS INTO COURT
All funds paid into the court will be deposited in the clerk’s account, which is non-interest bearing. If counsel or parties desire funds to be deposited into an interest bearing account, they may do so by order of the court. The court order should direct that the funds be paid directly to the General Receiver of the court (not the clerk) who shall deposit the funds in an interest bearing account until further order of the court. The General Receiver will not accept any funds until he has received a copy of the court’s order.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
The Circuit Court will be closed when the City Government (not the City schools) is closed or when the City Government is two or more hours late in opening due to inclement weather.