Circuit Court Judges

Page updated on Sep 14, 2021 at 9:12 AM


ALEXANDRIA CIRCUIT COURT


UPDATES / NOTES

  1.  APPEAL CASES - SELECTION OF TRIAL DATES (updated 8/3/2021)
    • For the first return (the date on the notice of appeal), counsel and pro se litigants shall
      • either call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) on the same conference call together prior to the date of the first return;  or
      • appear in person on the 4th floor of the Courthouse at 9:00 a.m. 
    • For all future status conferences, a status conference notice shall be mailed to all counsel and pro se litigants approximately 3 weeks prior to the date of the status conference. Counsel and pro se litigants shall follow the instructions and call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) at any time after receiving the status conference notice to select a trial date.   See Appeals of Civil Cases to Circuit Court below. 
  2. EMAIL FOR JUDGES' CHAMBERS has been deactivated.  Courtesy copies to Judges' Chambers shall be delivered to the Judges' drop box located on the 4th floor of the courthouse immediately outside Judges' Chambers.  DO NOT use the Clerk of Circuit Court's drop box in the courthouse vestibule, as the receipt of the documents in Judges' Chambers will be delayed. (posted: 5/3/2021)
  3. MOTIONS DAY (updated 8/3/2021) 
    • Effective 7/22/2020, and until further notice, all Circuit Court Motions Day hearings will be heard remotely using Microsoft Teams. 
    • Courtesy copies of all motions, praecipes, notices, etc. are required to be delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box.
    • Motions Day Information and Instructions during COVID-19 -  Version 2 posted 8-1-2021.
    • Motions Day Praecipe during COVID-19 - posted 8-1-2021.  Includes mandatory remote hearing notice, and space to provide email addresses for moving party/counsel and non-moving party/counsel.
    • See "Motions Day" paragraphs below for additional information. 


A.    CRIMINAL LOCAL PROCEDURES 


B.    CIVIL LOCAL PROCEDURES 

          Civil local procedures are on this page. Scroll down for the Court's local civil procedures. Call Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123 if you have any questions.


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SECTION 1 - JURY INFORMATION

1.   JURY COORDINATOR  

          Jury Coordinator 703.746.4119.   If the jury coordinator is unavailable, please leave your name, group number and telephone number so your call may be returned. 


2.   JUROR ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT OF SUMMONS

 703.838.4237   is a 24 hour number on which you acknowledge receipt of the juror summons.

When you call the number, you will be asked to leave the following information.   Do not leave any other message on this recording.
            Your NAME
             Your JURY GROUP NUMBER - located in pink on the jury summons
             Your BADGE NUMBER  - located on the top right corner of the summons           
             Your TERM OF SERVICE  -located in pink on the jury summons.
 

3.    JUROR REPORTING LINE 

703.838.4110         

This is a 24 hour number on which the Jury Coordinator records an outgoing message every night to include the jury group numbers of jurors who need to report for jury duty on the following business day.  The message is updated every day at 4:00 p.m.  If your group number is listed, come to court on the following business day. 

Start calling  703-838-4110 on the Friday before your Term of Service. Call 
       Friday after 4:00 p.m. - to see if you need to report to Court on Monday morning.   
       Monday after 4:00 p.m. - to see if you need to report to Court on Tuesday morning.
       Tuesday after 4:00 p.m. - to see if you need to report to Court on Wednesday morning.
       Wednesday after 4:00 p.m. - to see if you need to report to Court on Thursday morning. 
       Thursday after 4:00 p.m. - to see if you need to report to Court on Friday morning. 


4.   JUROR SUMMONS  

If you have received a Juror Summons, you have been summoned as a Petit Juror or a Grand Juror at Alexandria Circuit Court. Carefully review the information in the next two sections. 

  •  Step 1 -  CONFIRM your Juror summons is for Alexandria Circuit Court at 520 King Street.  If your juror summons indicates the U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square,  you should call 703.299.2104.    
  • Step 2 - Acknowledge Receipt of the Jury Duty Summons (see #2 above).
  • Step 3 - (Optional) - To request a one-time deferment to a date that you select, contact the Jury Coordinator at 703.746.4119. 
  • Step 4 - Starting on the Friday before your Term of Service, call the Juror Reporting Line after 4:00 p.m. (see #3 above).


5.   JURY SERVICE DURING COVID

  • Jury Resumption Plan - The Alexandria Circuit Court's initial jury resumption plan (dated 9/23/2020) was approved by the Supreme Court on 9/24/2020, and envisioned conducting one jury trial per week. Based on careful reconsideration of the factors considered, the Court determined that adequate space and personnel are available to safely conduct two jury trials per week by staggering the start dates.  Alexandria Circuit Court's Revised Jury Resumption Plan (dated 2/24/2021) was approved by the Supreme Court on 2/25/2021. Criminal Jury trials resumed on 11/9/2020, and civil jury trials resumed on June 1, 2021.  The Court will only hold 1 jury trial per day. Criminal jury trials take priority. If counsel /pro se litigants wish to request a continuance, please follow the Court's continuance procedure.


6.  JURY QUESTIONNAIRES

  • Once a year (typically in September-October), the Supreme Court of Virginia mails confidential Juror Questionnaires to prospective jurors for the City of Alexandria's Master Juror List for the upcoming calendar year.  The questionnaires are mailed to City of Alexandria residents who are randomly selected according to Section 8.01-345 of the Code of Virginia.  
  • If you receive a questionnaire,
    • Please DO NOT call the Court at this time. 
    • Complete the questionnaire as best you can.
    • Return the questionnaire to the Court within ten (10) days in the envelope provided to Alexandria Circuit Court, 520 King Street, Room 307, Alexandria VA 22314.
      You may also hand-deliver the questionnaire to the courthouse.  
    • Jury Commissioners will review all of the questionnaires to prepare a Master List of Jurors for the following calendar year. 

    • Frequently Asked Questions
      • The questionnaire does not mean you are serving as a juror at this time.  If you are determined to be qualified by the Juror Commissioners, your name will be included on the Master List of Jurors, from which names will be randomly selected for jury service during the next calendar year.
      • Previous Jury Service - Make your best guess if you cannot remember the exact date. The court will confirm the information when your questionnaire is returned.
      • Questions?  Write a note at the bottom of the questionnaire or attach a separate note. The Jury Commissioners will review your question and make a determination.
      • Recipient moved?  If the addressee no longer resides at the address, please mark the envelope "return to sender", and mail to the court in the envelope provided.
      • Request to be excused from jury service - Write a note at the bottom of the questionnaire or attach a separate note. The Jury Commissioners will review the request and make a determination.
      • Son or Daughter's Questionnaire - If the questionnaire is for your son or daughter who is away at school, please answer the questions for your son or daughter, sign your name as parent, and return the questionnaire to the court in the envelope provided.
      • Special circumstances - Write a note at the bottom of the questionnaire or attach a separate note. The Jury Commissioners will review the request and make a determination.
     



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SECTION 2 - GENERAL INFORMATION


7.    Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") 

The Court recognizes that there are persons with special needs who use Circuit Court. Any persons needing reasonable accommodation in Circuit Court should file a written request with the Clerk of Circuit Court (520 King Street, Room 307, Alexandria, VA 22314), with a courtesy copy delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box) identifying any specific accommodation that is being sought, date of the court event, and your contact information. The written request shall be filed as soon as possible but no later than five (5) business before the scheduled court event for which assistance is required. Supporting documentation or records may be requested by the Circuit Court's ADA Cordinator (703.746.4123). 


8.  Calendar for Alexandria Circuit Court 


9.  Cell Phones and Electronic Devices are prohibited in the Alexandria Courthouse 

              By order dated 9/18/2017, all cell phones, cameras, video recording devices or similar equipment will be prohibited inside the Alexandria Courthouse without court authorization. Persons exempted from this policy are Law Enforcement Personnel, Attorneys, Media and Courthouse Staff. Individuals who need their phones/devices for evidence or any other purpose must request permission from the judge in court, and permission may be granted by the judge on a case by case basis.

            Cell phones and electronic devices are prohibited in the Courthouse. Lockers are available in the courthouse vestibule for $.25.      Alexandria Courthouse Cell Phone Policy.   


10.   Circuit Court Judges' Chambers  

         520 King Street, 4th floor       Alexandria, VA  22314

        703.746.4123   8:30am-1:00pm, 2:00pm to 4:00pm       Website   www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt

         Judges' Chambers' drop box is on the 4th floor (emailed documents not accepted)

The Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in Virginia, and the court has authority to try a full range of both civil and criminal cases. Alexandria Circuit Court is a court of record, and all documents shall be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court. 

Circuit Court Judges -  Chief Judge Lisa B. Kemler, James C. Clark, and Kathleen M. Uston.  Circuit Judges are elected by a joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly and are commissioned by the Governor for a term of eight years. The Governor can make interim appointments when the General Assembly is in recess.

Meetings with Chambers' staff (law clerks or administrators) has been suspended during COVID-19.  Please call 703.746.4123 instead.  8:30am to 1:00pm; 2:00pm to 4:00pm.


11.   Court of Appeals of Virginia 

THE COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA provides for intermediate appellate review of all decisions of the Circuit Courts in traffic infractions, in criminal cases (except where a sentence of death has been imposed), and in decisions of the Circuit Court involving domestic relations matters and appeals from administrative agencies. The Court of Appeals also hears appeals from the Industrial Commission. The Court of Appeals sits in panels of at least three judges at locations designated by the Chief Judge, so as to provide convenient access to the various areas of the Commonwealth. The 10 Court of Appeals judges are elected in the same manner as Circuit Court judges and serve an eight-year term. The Chief Judge is elected by the 10 judges and serves a four-year term.  For more information, visit the Court of Appeals of Virginia website.


12.   COVID-19 Memoranda -Alexandria Circuit Court's temporary procedures


13.   Courtesy copies

shall be delivered to the Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box.  Deliveries may be addressed to the Court Administrator. 

  • Mandatory: Motions Day documents - A courtesy copy must be delivered to Judges’ Chambers’ 4th floor drop box, including all notices, praecipes, motions, exhibits, pleadings, and proposed orders. See "Motions Day Instructions" below.
    • Optional: Courtesy copy of other pleadings, documents, etc.  Courtesy copies of proposed orders will not be processed, as Judges' Chambers must wait until the Clerk of Circuit Court processes and forwards the original proposed order to Judges' Chambers.

14.    Employment Opportunities

  • JUDICIAL LAW CLERKS - Alexandria Circuit Court has a total of three judicial law clerks (licensed attorneys) who each serve a two year term. The law clerks work with all three Circuit Court Judges as well as retired and visiting judges, and are not assigned to a specific judge. The clerkships are for law school graduates, and will begin in August after the clerk's law school graduation and Virginia State Bar examination. The law clerks are hired on a rotational basis, with either one or two clerks being hired each year. 
    • The clerkship for the 2022-2024 term (one clerk) has been filled.  
    • The application process for the 2023-2025 term (two clerks to be hired) will begin in the summer of 2023.
      • The application package shall include a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and a list of references with telephone numbers. Writing samples (less than 10 pages please) are not required but may be included in the application package. Applicants should send only one application package to the Court. There is no need to send an application package to each judge.
      • The application deadline is June 15, 2022. Application packages may be emailed to the court administrator:  

        Lori.Knoernschild@alexandriava.gov

      • Interviews with all 3 Circuit Court Judges will be in July/August 2022.  Applicants to be interviewed will be contacted by email.
  • INTERNSHIPS - The Circuit Court of Alexandria does not offer a summer internship program.  Our clerkships are for law school graduates for a term of 2 years, beginning the August after your law school graduation and the Virginia state bar examination. 

15.    Filing Documents

All documents shall be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court in Room 307.  703.746.4044.  See www.alexandriava.gov/ClerkofCircuitCourt .  

  • Mandatory: Motions Day proposed orders.  Courtesy copies of all Motions Day filings, including proposed orders, are required to be delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. This allows the Court maximum time to prepare for the motion and to alert the law clerks that the motion has been filed. 
  • Optional: Other proposed orders.  A courtesy copy may be delivered to the Judges' Chambers'  4th floor drop box, but is not required. The courtesy copy of the order will not be entered, as Judges' Chambers must wait for the original order to be processed and forwarded by the Clerk of Circuit Court.

16.   Inclement Weather/Emergency Policy for Alexandria Circuit Court

The Circuit Court will be closed when the Alexandria City Government (not the Alexandria City Public Schools) is closed or when the City Government is two (2) or more hours late in opening due to inclement weather or an emergency. The Alexandria City Employee Hotline is updated with the information as well (703.746.4636).


17.  Interpreter Services 

Neither the Circuit Court Judges’ Chambers nor the Clerk of Circuit Court schedules foreign language interpreters.

Spanish interpreter - call Doralisa Pilarte at 703.746.4630 or email   dpilarte@vacourts.gov

Languages Other Than Spanish - call Hassan Abdi at 571.435.1786 or email  habdi@vacourts.gov



18. Legal Advice is Prohibited    

Court personnel are prohibited from giving legal advice or assistance, including how to fill out legal forms.  If you need such advice, you must hire an attorney. 



19. Supreme Court of Virginia 

The Supreme Court of Virginia's primary purpose is to review the decisions of lower courts in which appeals have been allowed. The Court, which is located in Richmond, also has the power to issue writs of mandamus, habeas corpus, and prohibition; it has original jurisdiction in cases of judicial censure and removal.  The Court has seven justices who are elected by joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly and are commissioned by the Governor to serve 12-year terms. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the administrative head of the state judicial system.  For more information, visit the Supreme Court of Virginia web site.



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SECTION 3 - PROCEDURES

20.   Appeals from the Circuit Court   

To appeal a case from the Circuit Court to either the Court of Appeals of Virginia or the Supreme Court of Virginia, contact the Clerk of Circuit Court (703.746.4044).


21.   Appeals from GDC or JDR to Circuit Court  

 Terminology:  Appellant is the party who noted the appeal.  Appellee is the opposing party.

  • Step #1 - The appeal is noted  with the Clerk of the General District Court ("GDC") or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court ("JDR").
  •  Step #2 - The appeal bond (if any) must be paid at the GDC or JDR clerk's office. If an appeal bond has been ordered but has not been paid, the case will not be transferred to the Clerk of Circuit Court. The GDC or JDR Clerk schedules a selection of trial date  ("first return date") hearing in Circuit Court, at which time a trial date will be scheduled for a future date. The appellant is advised of the first return date when the appeal is noted. If the appeal bond has been paid and the mandatory period of time in which the appeal may be withdrawn has passed, the case will be transferred from GDC or JDR to  the Clerk of Circuit Court. NOTICE OF APPEAL is issued by the Clerk of Circuit Court. The notice of appeal advises opposing party/counsel that the case has been appealed, and instructs opposing party/counsel when and where to appear to select a trial date in Circuit Court. This is the FIRST RETURN DATE OF THE APPEALIf the  Clerk of Circuit Court does not issue and serve a notice of appeal, a Circuit Court trial date cannot be scheduled. 
  • Step #3 - Select a Circuit Court trial date.   All parties or counsel either call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) prior to the Selection of Trial Date  together on the same telephone call  or appear in person at the selection of trial date hearing to select an agreed trial date.  During COVID-19, the selection of trial date hearing will be held in the 4th floor lobby at 9:00 a.m. 
                      Selection of Trial Date
                           Scenario #1 - Appellant and appellee both appear: An agreed trial date is selected and a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order is entered.
                           Scenario #2 - Appellant appears, but appellee fails to appear: Appellant will be permitted to select a Circuit Court trial date provided that the
                                                   appellee has been properly served with the notice of appeal; or the case may be continued to a future Status Conference date
                                                    at appellant's request. If a trial date is selected, appellant will be required to notify the appellee in writing of the Circuit Court trial date.
                          Scenario #3 - Appellee appears, but appellant fails to appear: Appellee will be permitted to select a Circuit Court trial date; or the case may be
                                                    continued to a future Status Conference date at appellee's request.  If a trial date is selected, appellee will be required to notify the
                                                    appellant of the trial date in writing.
                                                               If a trial date  is not selected at subsequent status conference hearings,  or if the appellant fails to appear or contact
                                                   Judges' Chambers at subsequent status conference hearings, the appeal may be dismissed and the case will be remanded to the
                                                    lower court for enforcement of prior orders.
  • Step #4 - After the Circuit Court trial date is selected, parties/counsel shall complete and sign a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order which indicates the trial date and other important information regarding the trial date. The Court's Notice to Pro Se Litigants is distributed as necessary.
                 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. The Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order shall be entered at the time the case is set for trial.  If the trial date is selected by telephone (during COVID-19 or otherwise),  counsel/pro se litigant must confirm the trial date by completing and signing the Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order. 
  • If the case is continued to a Status Conference, a status conference notice will be mailed to all counsel/pro se litigants approximately three (3) weeks prior to the date of the status conference. Counsel/pro se litigants, including appellant, shall then follow the Status Conference instructions. Counsel and pro se litigants shall follow the instructions and call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) at any time after receiving the status conference notice to select a trial date  (see "Trial Dates - Setting Civil Trial Dates" section below).

  


22.  Continuance Requests  

  • Continuance Requests  Continuances in civil cases are granted only by permission of a Judge upon good cause. Continuances are not granted because discovery has not been completed.  A request for a continuance may be heard on a Motions Day or by a pre-scheduled conference call at 8:45 a.m.  Procedure: File the written motion to continue. Call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule an 8:45 a.m. conference call with a judge.
    • DURING COVID-19 -  Due to the high volume of continuance requests, please adhere to the following procedure.
      • Agreed continuances (if the continuance is agreed to by parties/counsel) - All agreed continuances will be liberally granted after a written motion to continue has been filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court. Procedure for agreed continuances: File a written motion to continue stating that the continuance is by agreement; provide a copy to opposing party/counsel; and deliver a courtesy copy to the Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. All pro se parties or counsel call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) together on  the same conference call to reschedule the trial date.
      • Contested continuance requests (if the continuance request is objected to by opposing party/counsel) -  A conference call with a judge must be scheduled.  Procedure for contested continuance requests: File a written motion to continue stating that the continuance is contested; provide a copy to opposing party/counsel; and deliver a courtesy copy to the Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. Moving party/counsel calls Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to obtain available conference call dates, coordinates availability with opposing party/counsel, and then calls Judges' Chambers again to schedule date/time.  On day of conference call, all pro se parties or counsel call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) together on  the same conference call to speak with a judge.


23.   Copies 

 In all cases where a certified copy of an order or other document is desired, the attorney or party should furnish a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Clerk of Circuit Court. Contact the Clerk of Circuit Court at 703.746.4044. 

 

24.   DIVORCE INFORMATION 


24-A   Divorces: Contested or Uncontested - Annulment Cases 

 Annulment cases are heard on the Circuit Court's 10:00 a.m. docket. After filing all required documents with the Clerk of Circuit Court, call Judges' Chambers to schedule (703.746.4123).  Required documents include Complaint, COPE parenting seminar certificate of attendance (if needed; see below), Final Decree (see below), Property Settlement Agreement (if any), Name Change order (if requested), Notice of hearing (if required), Privacy Addendum, Proof of Service and VS-4 form (see below).

  • Contested cases procedures:  
    • Step #1 - File all required documents, including the proposed Final Decree, proof of service, VS-4 form (information below), privacy addendum, COPE parenting seminar certificate (if needed; see below), and name change order (if any).
    • Step #2  - Serve the Defendant.  File the Proof of Service. 
    • Step #3 - Schedule trial date by calling Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) together on a conference call. 
    • Step #4  - At least 10 days before trial, counsel or pro se litigants must meet and prepare in writing the agreed factors, to be filed with the Court. 
    • Step #5 - Not less than 5 days before trial, file Agreed Factors Statement (Va. Code  §§ 20-107.1, 107.3(E), 108.1(B)] and Computations of Guideline Support (Va. Code §§ 20-107.2 and 108.2).  If the parties cannot agree, each party shall submit his/her own proposed factors. 
    •  Step #6 - Trial date.  Parties and counsel appear for trial.  The final order may be entered at the trial, or filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court after the trial. 
  • COPE parenting seminar (Local Rule) - Per Local rules, in all contested divorce cases where the parties have minor children and seek a ruling as to custody, the plaintiff must attend a COPE parenting seminar and file the certificate prior to the ore tenus hearing. The Defendant is not required to take the parenting seminar. A list of COPE parenting seminar providers for Circuit Court is available on the Supreme Court of Virginia's website at http://www.courts.state.va.us/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/parented/circuit_providers.html
    • During COVID-19, the COPE parenting education seminar may be taken during webinar. To ensure parties have access to mandatory COPE parent education seminars during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of parent education seminar providers are shifting their in-person classes to live webinars. A list of webinars is on the Supreme Court of Virginia's website at http://www.vacourts.gov/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/parented/home.html.

24-B   Divorces: Contested - Equitable Distribution cases 

  • Equitable distribution cases, and cases involving child and spousal support are heard on the 10:00 a.m. docket.  After service has been issued, and the proof of service has been filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court, call Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123 to schedule a trial date. 
  • Pretrial Conferences are mandatory for all cases scheduled for more than two days and all Equitable Distribution cases. The pretrial conference is a brief 5 to 10 minute) hearing scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on a date four to six weeks prior to the trial date. The judge will ask about outstanding issues, estimated length of trial, and possibility of settlement. Motions to continue should be scheduled separately from the pretrial conference. During COVID-19, Circuit Court is conducting pretrial conferences by telephone conference call if necessary. (Call Judges' Chambers  (703.746.4123) with all parties/counsel together  on the same conference call. )

24-C   Divorces:  Contested - Pendente Lite Support Hearings 

Pendente Lite support hearings - After filing the pendente lite motion, call Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123 to schedule a 10:00 a.m. hearing. In order to expedite the support hearing, the parties to a contested hearing should (a) prepare and sign financial statements indicating the financial needs and incomes of the parties; (b) review the child support guidelines contained in Va. Code § 20-108.2 and determine the appropriate amount suggested therein; and (c) make a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter between themselves.


24-D      Divorces: Uncontested - Affidavit or Deposition Divorce 

Affidavit Divorce or Deposition Divorce - An affidavit or deposition may be filed if the Plaintiff wishes to submit written testimony (in lieu of oral testimony in the courtroom at an ore tenus hearing). See Virginia Code § 20-106. The plaintiff files a written affidavit or deposition, which must be signed in front of a notary public. The defendant does not need to provide an affidavit or deposition. As of 7/1/2021, a witness affidavit or deposition is no longer required. The Final Decree will be entered approximately 4 to 6 weeks after all of the required documents are filed. 

  • Procedure - File required documents, including (1) notarized Affidavit of Plaintiff; (2) Complaint; (3) COPE certificate, if necessary; (4) Final Decree; (5) Property Settlement Agreement (needed for all divorces based on six (6) months separation); (6) Name Change order (if requested in complaint); (7) Notice of Affidavit or Deposition Filed (see below); (8) Privacy Addendum; (9) Proof of Service; and (10) VS-4 form.   
    • NOTES: 
      • Final Decree must include a statement that neither party is pregnant from the marriage.
      • Final Decree must be signed by the Defendant if the Defendant signed the acceptance/waiver. The acceptance/waiver must be notarized; the Final Decree does not need to be notarized.
      • Notarized documents - During COVID-19, the Plaintiff may use a sworn Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury (see Va. Code § 8.01-4.3) to satisfy the requirements of a sworn statement under Va. Code § 20-99.1:1 (acceptance and waiver of service of process) and Va. Code § 20-106 (divorce by affidavit). 
      • Notice of Affidavit or Deposition Filed - If a plaintiff effects service of process by posting under Virginia Code § 8.01-296(2)(b), plaintiff should serve notice that "The proceeding is pending in the Circuit Court, that affidavits or depositions have been filed or will be filed on a specific date, and  that upon the expiration of 10 days after the giving of the notice and the expiration of the statutory period within which to respond, a Final Decree may be entered".

24-E      Divorces: Uncontested - Ore Tenus Hearings 

  • Ore Tenus Divorce Hearing  - Ore tenus hearings are held in person at 9:00 a.m. in the courtroom, at which time Plaintiff provides oral testimony to the judge.  In most case, the final decree will be entered in the courtroom. Exception: If service was by publication, the final decree will not be entered until after the hearing transcript has been filed with the Court.
    • Ore tenus procedure - Step #1 - File required documents, including (1) Complaint; (2) COPE certificate, if necessary; (3) Final Decree; (4) Property Settlement Agreement (needed for all divorces based on six (6) months separation); (5) Name Change order (if requested in complaint); 67) Notice of Affidavit or Deposition Filed (see below); (7) Privacy Addendum; (8) Proof of Service; (9) Notice of Final Hearing, if necessary; and (10) VS-4 form.   
    • Notes: 
      • FINAL DECREE  
        • Final Decree must include a statement that neither party is pregnant from the marriage.
        • Final Decree must be signed by the Defendant if the Defendant signed the acceptance/waiver. The acceptance/waiver must be notarized; the Final Decree does not need to be notarized.
      • INTERPRETER  Neither the Circuit Court Judges’ Chambers nor the Clerk of Circuit Court schedules foreign language interpreters.

        Spanish interpreter - call Doralisa Pilarte at 703.746.4630 or email   dpilarte@vacourts.gov

        Languages Other Than Spanish - call Hassan Abdi at 571.435.1786 or email  habdi@vacourts.gov

      • NOTARIZED DOCUMENTS DURING COVID-19 - The Plaintiff may use a sworn Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury (see Va. Code § 8.01-4.3) to satisfy the requirements of a sworn statement under Va. Code § 20-99.1:1 (acceptance and waiver of service of process) and Va. Code § 20-106 (divorce by affidavit). 
      • NOTICE OF FINAL HEARING - If Defendant was was not personally served with the Complaint, but was either served by “posting” (the Sheriff or private process server taped the Complaint and Summons on the door where your spouse lives) or served the defendant by handing the papers to a family member over sixteen years of age who lives with Defendant, then Notice must be served on the defendant, indicating the date and time of the final hearing  when the Final Decree will be entered.  There is a fee for service either by Sheriff or private process server.  The service must be done by posting or better. A sample "Notice of Final Hearing" is contained in the "Uncontested Divorce Pro Se Packet"  (see "Forms and Pro Se Packets" below).  NOTE:  If Defendant has filed an Answer not contesting the divorce, the Notice may be served by mailing or hand delivery.  See Virginia Code § 8.01-296 and § 20-99. 
      • PUBLICATION- If service was by publication in the newspaper, a COURT REPORTER is required to attend the hearing and prepare a transcript.
        LOCAL RULE:  The Court Reporter's transcript must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court (Room 307) before the Final Decree will be entered.
    • Ore tenus procedure - Step #2 - Schedule the ore tenus hearing.  Pro se plaintiff or counsel calls Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule a hearing. 
      • During COVID-19, ore tenus hearings are scheduled for most Tuesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the courtroom and will be limited to six (6) cases. All documents, including the proposed Final Decree, must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court one week before calling Judges' Chambers to schedule the hearing date. Hearing dates will be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the hearing date.
    • Ore tenus procedure - Step #3 -  Attend the hearing. Plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel (if any) appear in the courtroom for oral testimony. Defendant may also attend the hearing, to observe the proceedings, but is not required to do so.
    • Ore tenus procedure - Step #4  - The final decree will be entered on the date of the ore tenus hearing except in cases which service was by publication. If service was by publication, the Final Decree will be entered when the hearing transcript is filed. 


25.    Emergency Hearings

Emergency Hearings may be scheduled by contacting a law clerk in Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123.


26.   Endorsements

  • On all pleadings, orders and decrees, the attorney or pro se litigant's name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address (if any) shall be included on the signature line.
  • Endorsement of opposing counsel/pro se litigant must be included on all agreed orders and decrees.
  • Judgment Orders shall specifically name the defendant(s) in the last paragraph of the order upon which the judgment is granted.

27.  Exhibits 

  • Exhibits shall be labeled prior to the trial/hearing. Plaintiff's exhibits shall be labeled P-1, P-2, etc. Defendant's exhibits shall be labeled D-1, D-2, etc. 
    • Trials/hearings in the courtroom - Bring the trial exhibits to Court on the day of the trial/hearing.
    • Remote hearings during COVID-19, including Motions Day hearings - Deliver a hard copy of the trial exhibits no later than 9:00 a.m. on the day of the hearing/trial to the Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. DO NOT USE the Clerk of Circuit Court's drop box in the courthouse vestibule, as the documents may not be timely received in Judges' Chambers.   The exhibits may be addressed to Court Administrator, 520 King Street, 4th floor. 


28.   Fiduciary Matters 

  • Fiduciary Matters  may be scheduled on a Motions Day docket (see "Motions Day Instructions" below) or on a 9:00 a.m. uncontested docket.
    • Procedure for 9:00 a.m. docket - File all required documents, then call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule the 9:00 a.m. hearing.  During COVID-19, the final hearing may be held remotely or in person. 
    • Remote hearing procedure: Counsel or pro se litigant issues the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation (see "Trials and Hearings for Civil Cases" section >>> scroll to "Remote Trials and Hearings").
  • Guardianships/conservatorships and appointment of guardian (contested and uncontested) - updated 4/23/2021.
      • Uncontested hearings shall be scheduled for a Motions Day (see "Motions Day Instructions") or a 9:00 a.m. uncontested docket.  Procedure for 9:00 a.m. docket - After the order of appointment is entered, call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule a 9:00 a.m. hearing. File all documents, including notice of hearing (see below), the GAL report, and proposed final order at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing.  Deliver a courtesy copy to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. Remote hearings - During COVID-19, the final hearing may be held remotely or in person,. If the hearing is held remotely, counsel or pro se litigant shall issue the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation (see "Trials and Hearings for Civil Cases" section >>> scroll to "Remote Trials and Hearings")
      • Contested hearings shall be scheduled for the 10:00 a.m. contested docket. Procedure for 10:00 a.m. docket - After the order of appointment is entered, call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule a contested hearing on the 10:00 a.m. docket. File all documents, including notice of hearing, the GAL report, and proposed final order,  at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing date. Deliver a courtesy copy to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box.
        • Notes:  
          • During COVID-19, appearance of Petitioner and GAL may be waived and the order may be entered "on the papers",  provided neither Respondent, nor any other entity whose name appears in the petition, appears at the hearing. The proposed appointment order may be entered at the hearing, based on clear and convincing evidence, in consideration of the factors listed in Va. Code Section 64.2-2007(c).
          • Notice of the hearing must comply with Va. Code Section 64.2-2004. 



29.  Filing documents 

All original documents must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court.  See www.alexandriava.gov/ClerkofCircuitCourt.


30.  Forms

  • Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Notice of Future Hearings - Defendant must sign the document in front of a notary public.
  • COPE parenting seminar (Local Rule) - Per Local rules, in all contested divorce cases where the parties have minor children and seek a ruling as to custody, the plaintiff must attend a COPE parenting seminar and file the certificate prior to the ore tenus hearing. The Defendant is not required to take the parenting seminar. A list of COPE parenting seminar providers for Circuit Court is available on the Supreme Court of Virginia's website at http://www.courts.state.va.us/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/parented/circuit_providers.html
    • COPE NOT REQUIRED in the following uncontested divorce cases:  If (a) parties have reached an agreement as to custody and ask the Court to incorporate their written agreement into the Final Decree of Divorce; (b) custody has already been determined by a separate court order; or (c) the parties have minor children but the Final Decree does not make a ruling as to custody.
    • During COVID-19, the COPE parenting education seminar may be taken during webinar. To ensure parties have access to mandatory COPE parent education seminars during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of parent education seminar providers are shifting their in-person classes to live webinars. A list of webinars is on the Supreme Court of Virginia's website at http://www.vacourts.gov/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/parented/home.html.
  • Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order   (updated Nov 2019).  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.  The Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order shall be entered at the time the case is set for trial.  If the trial date is selected by telephone (during COVID-19 or otherwise),  counsel/pro se litigant must confirm the trial date by completing and signing the Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.  
  • VS-4 Form - Virginia State Form 4 is  mandatory for all divorce cases and cannot be downloaded. The form is available in Room 307 or the courthouse vestibule. 


31.  General Receiver 

Deposits to General Receiver - Any orders providing for funds to be deposited with the General Receiver shall comply with Va. Code § 8.01-600(B) and “shall include information necessary to make prudent investment and disbursement decisions”. The orders shall include, except when it is unreasonable, the proposed dates of periodic and final disbursements. Prior to the entry of the order, the beneficiary or his representative shall file an affidavit with the court providing the beneficiary's name, date of birth, address, and social security number. The affidavit shall be maintained under seal by the clerk unless otherwise ordered by the court, and the information therein shall be used solely for the purposes of financial management and reporting.” 


32.   Infant Settlements

Infant Settlements may be scheduled on a Motions Day docket (see "Motions Day Instructions" below);  or on a 9:00 a.m. uncontested docket (file all required documents, then call Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123 to schedule the 9:00 a.m. hearing.).



33.  Judgment Orders

Judgment Orders shall specifically name the defendant(s) upon which the judgment is granted in the last paragraph of the order.   




34.  Marriage Celebrants for  Civil Marriage Ceremonies

  •  (A)  Local Attorneys Authorized to Perform Civil Marriage Ceremonies - In addition to clergy, several local attorneys have been authorized to perform civil marriage ceremonies. To obtain the names and contact information of the local attorneys, contact the Clerk of Circuit Court at 703-746-4044.
  • (B)  Alexandria Resident's Petition to Perform One-Time Civil Marriage Ceremony 
    • A person residing in the City of Alexandria (not Fairfax County) may petition the Circuit Court of Alexandria to become a marriage celebrant to perform a one-time civil marriage ceremony (Virginia Code § 20-25). All documents shall be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court at least thirty (30) days prior to the ceremony to allow for processing time. 
      • Fees: filing fee and bond. 
      • Required documents include
        • Petition
        • Proposed order
        •  (local rule) A letter from the marriage celebrant (a) stating the marriage celebrant lives in the City of Alexandria (not Fairfax County), (b) describing the marriage celebrant’s relationship to the couple getting married; and (c) why the marriage celebrant wants to perform the marriage ceremony. 


35.  Mediation

Mediation is recommended by the Court in all disputed custody cases. 

 


36.  MOTIONS DAY


36-A.  MOTIONS DAY DOCKET

The Motions Day docket will be posted to the website two (2) days prior to the Motions Day hearing.

        Docket for September 8, 2021 Motions Day   posted 9-3-2021 at 1:00pm


36-B    MOTIONS DAY INVITATION AND MEETING LINKS

A Microsoft Teams meeting invitation will be emailed by the Court two (2) days prior to the Motions Day to the moving party and non‑moving parties if the email address for the non-moving party has been provided to the Court.  The Court’s email will include a separate meeting link and telephone number for each judge’s 10:00 a.m. session (and 2:00 p.m. session if applicable). For participants who do not have internet access, they may use the telephone number that is provided on the meeting invitation to have audio access to the hearing. The Microsoft Teams meeting invitation may be forwarded to anyone interested in attending the hearing. The Microsoft Teams meeting link, telephone number and Motions Day docket are posted below (to be updated 2 days prior to the Motions Day). 


Alexandria Circuit Court

Motions Day Videoconference Instructions

  1.  IMPORTANT – Download Microsoft Teams (a free download) prior to the meeting.
  2. You are receiving this email because you have placed a motion on the upcoming Motions Day. If you have already removed your motion from the docket, you may disregard this invitation. 
  3.  Please do not respond to this email other than by accepting or declining the meeting invitation.  The link below for the meeting will also be posted on the Court’s website at www.alexandriava.gov/circuitcourt.  Anyone who does not receive this invitation (parties, court reporters, etc.) may still join the meeting by clicking on the posted link on the Court’s website. Do not call or email the Court to ask that this invitation be sent out again to additional recipients.  If you have any questions that are not about who did, or did not, receive the Microsoft Teams Invitation, please call 703-746-4123. 
  4. Please review the following instructions with regards to the upcoming Motions Day:
             a.  All hearings will be remotely through Microsoft Teams.
            b.   Please keep your microphone muted until your case is called.
  5. When you hear your case called by the judge, you will need to alert the judge that you are present, and give a time estimate for the amount of time you believe your case requires.
  6. Please note:
           a.    When your case is called, please speak as loudly as possible.
            b.    Make sure you are in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed during the hearing.  Eliminate all ambient noise in the room, even if you think it will not be picked-up on your microphone. 
           c.   If you interrupt the court during any case other than your own, you will be muted and possibly removed from the court proceeding.


  MEETING LINKS  

                             (1)    JUDGE JAMES C. CLARK - 10:00 a.m. on September 8, 2021  (posted on 9/3/2021 at 1:00 p.m.)

                                     Join on your computer or mobile app        Click here to join the meeting

                                     Or call in (audio only)                                 +1 703-719-4698,,385359156#   Phone Conference ID: 385 359 156# 


                            (2)    JUDGE KATHLEEN M. USTON - 10:00 a.m. on September 8, 2021  (posted on 9/3/2021 at 1:00 p.m.)

                                   Join on your computer or mobile app           Click here to join the meeting

                                     Or call in (audio only)                                +1 703-719-4698,,534410796#    Phone Conference ID: 534 410 796# 


                            (3)      JUDGE KATHLEEN M. USTON - 2:00 p.m. on September 8, 2021  (posted on 9/3/2021 at 1:00 p.m.)

                                      Join on your computer or mobile app           Click here to join the meeting

                                        Or call in (audio only)                           +1 703-719-4698,,578649863#    Phone Conference ID: 578 649 863# 

  

                                          

                                         

     

     

36-C.   MOTIONS DAY INSTRUCTIONS 

            (updated 8/3/2021)  During COVID-19, and unless an exception is permitted by the Court, ALL hearings will be heard remotely using Microsoft Teams (see Meeting Invitation below).   The virtual Motions Days hearings are intended to be similar to the pre-COVID Motions Day hearings and are open to anyone.  The Microsoft Teams meeting invitation is posted on this website and may be forwarded to anyone interested in attending the remote hearing, including court reporters and interpreters.  

         Unless leave for additional time is granted, or the motion or motions are set for a time certain, argument time limit is 25 minutes total per case, regardless of the number of motions filed in any one case (10 minutes per side with 5 minutes for rebuttal).

  • Motions Day Information and Instructions during COVID-19 -  Version #2 posted 8-1-2021.  Includes detailed instructions for all required procedures, filing deadlines, documents required, and filing of proposed orders.  (mandatory remote hearing notices,  mandatory Microsoft Teams meeting information, and mandatory good faith certification for motions to compel).   Please call Judges' Chambers if you do not understand a procedure.
    • Taped Webinar explaining Motions Day Instructions issued on 12/21/2020      Taped webinar
    • Webinar slides  explaining the Motions Day instructions issued on 12/21/2020   Slides from the webinar      
  • Motions Day Praecipe during COVID-19 - posted 8-1-2021.
  • MANDATORY  
    1.  All instructions must be followed, including the mandatory Microsoft Teams Meeting Language, which is “The matter will be heard remotely via Microsoft Teams”; and "Opposing counsel/party will receive an email from the Court two (2) days prior to the Motions Day hearing. The Court’s email will include a link to the Microsoft Teams meeting and a telephone number to be used by those participants who do not have internet access.”   If the instructions are not followed, your motion may not be considered by the Court.                   
    2. Courtesy copies of all motions, praecipes, notices, etc. are required to be delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box.

36-C.  MOTION DAY DEADLINES

  • For filing INITIAL MOTIONS
             OCTOBER 13, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, September 24 at 4:00 p.m.
             OCTOBER 27, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, October 8 at 4:00 p.m.
              NOVEMBER 10, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, October 22 at  4:00 p.m.
             NOVEMBER 24, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, November 5 at 4:00 p.m. 
             DECEMBER 8, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, November 19 at 4:00 p.m.
             DECEMBER 22, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline is Friday, December 3 at 4:00 p.m.

                        DEADLINES THAT HAVE ALREADY PASSED for initial filings.
                         SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline was Friday, August 20 at 4:00 p.m.
                         SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 Motions Day - initial filing deadline was Friday, September 3 at 4:00 p.m.

  • DEADLINE FOR ADDITIONAL MOTIONS is one week prior to the Motions Day.  To alert the Court that an additional motion has been filed, please hand-deliver a courtesy copy to the Judges' Chambers' drop box located on the 4th floor of the Courthouse. 



37.   Orders 

  • All orders shall be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court in Room 307.
  • Judgment Orders shall specifically name the defendant(s) upon which the judgment is granted in the last paragraph of the order.   


38.   Payment of Funds into Circuit Court

All funds paid into the Circuit Court will be deposited in the Clerk of Circuit Courts 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 of Circuit Court) 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.


39.   Pretrial Conferences 

  • Pretrial conferences  are mandatory for all cases scheduled for more than two days and all Equitable Distribution cases. The pretrial conference is a brief hearing (5 to 10 minutes) scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on a date four to six weeks prior to the trial date. The judge will ask about outstanding issues, estimated length of trial, and possibility of settlement. Motions to continue should be scheduled separately from the pretrial conference. 
    • During COVID-19, if possible, Circuit Court is conducting pretrial conferences by telephone conference call.  Counsel and pro se parties are directed to coordinate a telephone conference call (with all counsel and pro se litigants on the same telephone call), and then call Judges' Chambers at 703-746-4123. 



40.  Pro se Litigants

  • Pro se litigants are litigants who do not have counsel and are representing themselves.
  • You are strongly advised to obtain an attorney to represent you. The Court and its employees cannot give you legal advice on how to proceed; if you need such advice, then you must hire an attorney.
  • Notice from Court to Pro Se Litigants - dated 7/6/2016
    • You must know the law relating to your issues and you will be expected to adhere to the Rules of Evidence and Rules of Court.
    • If you have a witness or witnesses that you want to have testify on your behalf, unless they are willing to come to court voluntarily, you must serve them with a lawful subpoena.  Please contact the Clerk of Court at 703-746-4044 for assistance regarding witness subpoenas. 
    • You must have all the proper pleadings prepared and filed with the Clerk of Court no later than one week before the trial date.
    • You must know how to proceed with presenting your case, including testifying, examination of witnesses and introduction of exhibits (documents, photographs or other tangible objects), as the Court will not be able help you with the case at trial.
    • The Court, in its discretion, may dismiss your case if you do not follow the above procedures.
  • Resources available to pro se litigants (in no particular order)
    • Alexandria Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service  520 King Street, Room 202   703.548.1106  Website:  https://www.alexandriabarva.org/find-a-lawyer
    • Alexandria Law Library for pro se packets.   520 King Street, Lower Level, Alexandria, VA 22314  703.746.4077.  Website: https://alexlibraryva.org/law-library    Hours: 9:00am to 2:00 pm.
      • Pro se packets available from the Alexandria Law Library - either on-line or in person (copying charge applies)
        • Divorce - Uncontested divorce information packet
        • Expungement information packet
        • Name change - Adult information packet
        • Name change - Minor child information packet
    • Legal Services of Northern Virginia  100 North Pitt Street, #307    Alexandria, VA 22314  703.684.5566  Website:  www.lsnv.org  
    • Virginia Access to Justice Commission  Website:  https://selfhelp.vacourts.gov
    • Virginia Code  available in the Alexandria Law Library (on lower level of courthouse; see above). Also available online at http://leg1.state.va.us/
    • Virginia Judicial System Court Self-Help Website,  http://selfhelp.vacourts.gov/, providing neutral legal information as a public service in topical areas commonly sought by self-represented litigants, such as traffic tickets, divorce, and landlord and tenant issues.



41.   Settlement Conferences for Civil Cases

 Upon agreement, the parties in any case may request a settlement conference to be held at 9:00 a.m. To the extent possible, the Judge presiding over the settlement conference will not hear the case.  

Procedure:  Call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) to schedule a settlement conference. Both parties shall deliver to Judges' Chambers a brief factual statement of the case from their viewpoint and a statement of the amount or conditions of demands or offers not less than five (5) days before the date of the settlement conference.  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.


42.    Structured Settlements 

Structured settlements  may be scheduled on a Motions Day docket (see "Motions Day Instructions" below);  or on a 9:00 a.m. uncontested docket. 

  •  Procedure for 9:00 a.m. docket -  File all documents, including application for approval, notice of proposed transfer and proposed final order containing the statutory requirements not less than 20 days prior to the scheduled hearing and deliver a courtesy copy to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box.  NOTE:   The payee must attend the final hearing unless good cause exists and a waiver is filed with the Court.
  • Deposits to General Receiver- Any orders providing for funds to be deposited with the General Receiver shall comply with Va. Code § 8.01-600(B) and “shall include information necessary to make prudent investment and disbursement decisions”. The orders shall include, except when it is unreasonable, the proposed dates of periodic and final disbursements. Prior to the entry of the order, the beneficiary or his representative shall file an affidavit with the court providing the beneficiary's name, date of birth, address, and social security number. The affidavit shall be maintained under seal by the clerk unless otherwise ordered by the court, and the information therein shall be used solely for the purposes of financial management and reporting.” 

43.   Wrongful Death Hearings 

Wrongful death settlement hearings may be scheduled on a Motions Day docket (see "Motions Day Instructions" below;  or on a 9:00 a.m. uncontested docket.

  • Procedure for 9:00 a.m. docket - File all required documents. Call Judges' Chambers to schedule a 9:00 a.m. hearing.
  • Deposits to General Receiver- Any orders providing for funds to be deposited with the General Receiver shall comply with Va. Code § 8.01-600(B) and “shall include information necessary to make prudent investment and disbursement decisions”. The orders shall include, except when it is unreasonable, the proposed dates of periodic and final disbursements. Prior to the entry of the order, the beneficiary or his representative shall file an affidavit with the court providing the beneficiary's name, date of birth, address, and social security number. The affidavit shall be maintained under seal by the clerk unless otherwise ordered by the court, and the information therein shall be used solely for the purposes of financial management and reporting.” 


44.   Technology Courtrooms in Alexandria Circuit Court 

           Contact information for Circuit Court IT  703.746.4310.

  • Technology courtrooms - Two courtrooms have electronic trial presentation equipment. Courtroom #2 uses Carousal equipment; and Courtroom #4 uses Nomad equipment.  
    • Procedure (Step #1) Reserve a technology courtroom by calling Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123). Judges' Chambers will advise if a technology courtroom is available on day of trial, but cannot advise of the courtroom assignment until after 3:00 p.m. on the day before trial.  (Step #2) Mandatory training for electronic trial presentation equipment is required before any pro se litigant or counsel may use the technology. The court strongly encourages the pro se litigants/counsel receive training on both systems, as the courtroom assignment will not be available until after 3:00 p.m. on the day before trial. (Circuit Court IT staff coordinates with court administrators for courtroom assignments.)   Walk-in training is available on Thursday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Bring your Windows OS laptop, and report to Courtroom #2 on the 4th floor. If the courtroom is not open, call Circuit Court IT at 703.746.4310.  Do not call Judges' Chambers, as that office does not open until 8:30 a.m.  To request training on a non-Thursday morning, call Circuit Court IT at 703.746.4310.
  • Technology Video Cart - is used during Hybrid hearings in which remote testimony is required.
    • Procedure  (Step #1) Notify Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) that remote testimony is required.  (Step #2-A) Reserve the technology video cart by calling Circuit Court IT (703.746.4310).  (Step #2-B) Mandatory training for technology video cart. When you reserve the technology cart, schedule your training. Bring your Windows OS laptop to the training. Circuit Court IT will advise you of the location of the training. 


45.  Trials and Hearings in Alexandria Circuit Court


45-A   Jury Trials 

  • Start time for jury trials is 10:00 a.m. 
  • Jury Instructions - Counsel should file and exchange instructions as specified in the Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order that was entered in the case.  Plaintiff's instructions should be marked numerically and defendant's instructions should be marked alphabetically.  Efforts should be made to review the instructions prior to the conclusion of the evidence. 
  • Jury Panel List (available three days before jury trial) - In accordance with § 8.01-353 -  Upon request, the clerk or sheriff  responsible for notifying jurors to appear in court for the trial of a case shall make available to all counsel of record in that case, a copy of the jury panel to be used for the trial of the case at least three full business days before the trial. Such copy of the jury panel shall show the name, age, address, occupation and employer of each person on the panel. Any error in the information shown on such copy of the jury panel shall not be grounds for a mistrial or assignable as error on appeal, and the parties in the case shall be responsible for verifying the accuracy of such information.  Counsel shall call the Clerk of Circuit Court (703.746.4044) for the jury panel list (not the Jury Coordinator). 
  • Jury list for counsel - A list of the jurors who reported for jury duty on day of trial will be distributed by the Jury Coordinator in the courtroom immediately prior to trial. 
  • Pretrial Motions, including motions in limine, that exceed five (5) minutes shall be noticed for and argued on a Civil Motions Day, not on the morning of trial. See "Motions Day Instructions".
  • Settlement or dismissal prior to trial: Court must be notified immediately - If a case settles or is voluntarily dismissed prior to trial, please follow the guidance on the bottom of page 2 of the  Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.   In the event of settlement or voluntary dismissal, notify the court IMMEDIATELY to avoid possible sanctions. During business hours, call 703.746.4123.   After business hours, call 703.746.4347 and email the court administrator. Notification must be received by 6:15 a.m. on the day of trial to cancel the jury and avoid paying juror costs.



45-B   Non-Jury Trials 

  • Start at 10:00 a.m.
  • Pretrial Motions, including motions in limine, that exceed five (5) minutes shall be noticed for and argued on a Civil Motions Day, not on the morning of trial. See "Motions Day Instructions".
  • Settlement or dismissal prior to trial: Court must be notified immediately - If a case settles or is voluntarily dismissed prior to trial, please follow the guidance on the bottom of page 2 of the  Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.   In the event of settlement or voluntary dismissal, notify the court IMMEDIATELY to avoid possible sanctions. During business hours, call 703.746.4123.   After business hours, call 703.746.4347 and email the court administrator. Notification must be received by 6:15 a.m. on the day of trial to cancel the jury and avoid paying juror costs.



45-C  Trials During COVID-19 

During COVID-19, trials/hearings can be held in one of three ways.  Details below.

  • Trial Options
    • OPTION #1 - IN COURTROOM  - Judge, parties, counsel, and all participants in courtroom. Follow COVID-19 precautions (see below). All protective order cases must be heard in the courtroom.    
    • OPTION #2 - REMOTE ONLY (no courtroom required) -  Judge and all participants appear remotely via Microsoft Teams
      The court uses only Microsoft Teams for remote hearings/trials, a free download available at www.microsoft.com.  If a MS Teams subscription is purchased, a telephone number is included on meeting invitation. The pro se litigant/counsel must issue the Microsoft Teams Meeting invitation (the Court issues meeting invitations only for Motions Day hearings).   
      • Procedure: (Step #1) Pro se litigant or counsel must issue the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation. The meeting invitation shall be emailed to all counsel, pro se litigants, witnesses, interpreters, court reporters, and anyone else who wants to or should participate in the virtual trial/hearing.
        • Include the following on the meeting invitation: (a) name of case, docket number, and date/time of trial or hearing; (b) advise recipients to download the MS Teams application to their device prior to the meeting if needed; (c) advise recipients that MS Teams is a free download available at www.microsoft.com
        • The judge's meeting invitation shall be emailed to the court administrators:  Lori.Knoernschild@alexandriava.gov, Lucy.Scalsky@alexandriava.gov, and Jennifer.LazoTorres@alexandriava.gov.  
      • (Step #2):  Trial Exhibits for remote trials/hearings shall be delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box no later than 9:00 a.m. on the day of trial.  The package may be addressed to the Court Administrator.  (Step #3) Proposed orders (either before or after the trial/hearing) - ORIGINAL filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court, and a courtesy copy to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. The courtesy copy of the proposed order will not be entered, as Judges' Chambers must wait for the Clerk of Circuit Court to process and forward the proposed order to Judges' Chambers. 
    • OPTION #3 -  HYBRID (COURTROOM REQUIRED with SOME REMOTE TESTIMONY  **Court's technology video cart required
      In hybrid hearings, the judge and some participants are in a courtroom, and other participants appear remotely. Pro se litigant/counsel must request the Court's technology video cart to be used for the remote testimony. Pro se litigant/counsel must issue the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation (the Court issues meeting invitations only for Motions Day hearings). The Court uses only Microsoft Teams for remote hearings/trials, a free download available at www.microsoft.com.  If a MS Teams subscription is purchased, a telephone number is included on meeting invitation.
      • Procedure: (Step #1) Notify court of remote hearing.  Call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123). (Step #2-A) - Request Court's technology video cart to be used for remote testimony in the courtroom by calling Circuit Court IT (703.746.4310). Advise of what day(s) your trial is scheduled (Circuit Court IT will coordinate with court administrators re courtroom assignment).  (Step #2-B) Training required for video cart (how to connect your Windows OS laptop to the video cart).  Walk-in training is  available every Thursday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Report to Circuit Court Courtroom #2 on the 4th floor.  If courtroom is not open, call 703.746.4310.  If training is needed on a non-Thursday, call 703.746.4310.  (Step #3) - Pro se litigant or counsel must issue the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation. The meeting invitation shall be emailed to all counsel, pro se litigants, witnesses, interpreters, court reporters, and anyone else who wants to or should participate in the virtual trial/hearing.
        • Include the following on the meeting invitation: (a) name of case, docket number, and date/time of trial or hearing; (b) advise recipients to download the MS Teams application to their device prior to the meeting if needed; (c) advise recipients that MS Teams is a free download available at www.microsoft.com
        • The judge's meeting invitation shall be emailed to the court administrators:  Lori.Knoernschild@alexandriava.gov, Lucy.Scalsky@alexandriava.gov, and Jennifer.LazoTorres@alexandriava.gov.  
        (Step #4):  Trial Exhibits - If counsel is appearing in the courtroom, bring the exhibits with you. If counsel is appearing remotely, exhibits shall be delivered to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box no later than 9:00 a.m. on the day of trial.  The package may be addressed to the Court Administrator.  (Step #5) Proposed orders (either before or after the trial/hearing) - ORIGINAL filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court, and a courtesy copy to Judges' Chambers' 4th floor drop box. The courtesy copy of the proposed order will not be entered, as Judges' Chambers must wait for the Clerk of Circuit Court to process and forward the proposed order to Judges' Chambers.  
  • COVID-19 precautions for in-person trials and hearings  During COVID-19, the Court strongly encourages use of remote and hybrid trials and hearings. For any in-person hearings or trials, the following shall apply:  (a)  All persons who are present in the courtroom shall wear facial coverings, unless excused from doing so by the judge, and shall practice social distancing in accordance with CDC.gov and Virginia Department of Health recommendations.(b) If an  interpreter is required, the interpreter will appear either remotely or in the courtroom with a telephone accessible to the party or witness in need of translation services. The decision whether to appear remotely, or in the courtroom, will be up to the interpreter. (c) Court reporters may attend proceedings either remotely or in‑person and whether to appear remotely, or in the courtroom, will be up to the court reporter.


45-D.  Trial Technology in Courtrooms

See "Technology Courtrooms" and "Video Cart" .




46.   TRIAL DATES - SETTING CIVIL TRIAL DATES

HOW TO SET A TRIAL DATE     The Court schedules all cases for Status Conference four (4) months after the case is initiated, and schedules all appeal cases for a selection of trial date hearing. If counsel/pro se litigants prefer to set a trial date earlier, counsel/pro se litigants may choose to call Judges' Chambers, docket a set-date motion for Motions Day, or docket a case for Term Day to select the trial date. 

  • Options initiated by Counsel/pro se litigants
    • Option #1 - Call Judges' Chambers to set trial date (703.746.4123) with all counsel/pro se litigants on the same telephone conference call. After a trial date is selected, file a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.
    • Option #2 - Docket a set-date motion for Motions Day
      • Procedure for Motions Day -  (Step #1)  File Motions Day Praecipe during COVID-19  prior to the Motions Day deadline. Follow "Motions Day Instructions" above.  (Step #2) - At the Motions Day hearing, the Court will instruct counsel and/or parties to contact Judges’ Chambers at 703.746.4123 together on the same conference call to schedule the trial date. Counsel and/or parties may avoid appearing remotely on Motions Day by contacting Judges’ Chambers prior to Motions Day to schedule the trial date. (Step #3) After a trial date is selected, file a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.   
    • Option #3 - Docket for Term Day at 9:00 a.m. on the second Monday of the month in January, March, May, July, September and November. If a Term Day falls on a holiday, the Term Day will be held the next day Court is open2021 Term Days are January 11, March 8, May 10, July 12, September 13, and November 8.
      • Procedure: How to schedule a Term Day hearing -  (Step #1) - File the Term Day Praecipe  (Deadline: 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding the Term Day.) 
      • Procedure: What to do if you schedule or receive a Term Day notice   (Step #1 - Option #A) - Call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) prior to the Term Day with all counsel/pro se litigants on the same conference call, or (Step #1 - Option #B) appear at 9:00 a.m. on the date of the Term Day. During COVID-19, Term Day hearings are held in the 4th floor lobby at 9:00 a.m.  (Step #2) After a trial date is selected, file a Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order.   (See "Forms" for Uniform Pretrial Scheduling Order instructions.)
  • Options Initiated by the Court 
    • Option #4 -  Selection of Trial Date hearing (for appeals cases only) - See "Appeals of Civil Cases to Circuit Court" above.
    • Option #5 - Status Conference hearings are at 9:00 a.m. on the second Monday of the month (unless Monday is a holiday, in which case the status conference will be held on Tuesday or the next business day). Status conference cases are scheduled by the Court (pro se parties/counsel cannot schedule a case for status conference), with the goal of managing all civil cases for resolution/dismissal/trial dates within one year of the case being filed. During COVID-19, all in-person status conference hearings will be conducted by telephone.  Pro se litigants/counsel are instructed to call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) as soon as they receive the status conference notice, but no later than the date of the status conference. The case may be dismissed if the Plaintiff or Appellant does not  contact Judges' Chambers by 4:00 p.m. on the date of the status conference.  
      • 2021 Status Conferences remaining are September 13, October 12 (Tuesday), November 8, and December 13.
      • When  is a case scheduled for a status conference? Cases that are 3 months old without good service are scheduled for a status conference. The status conference notice is mailed to the plaintiff and  any defendants for which the Court has a mailing address. Cases that are 4 months old or older in which service has been effected are scheduled for a status conference. The status conference notice is mailed to the plaintiff and any defendants for which the Court has a mailing address. 
      • When is the next status conference?  Status Conference notice for September 13, 2021, including remote procedures for status conferences and selection of trial date hearings during COVID-19. During COVID-19, all in-person status conference hearings will be conducted by telephone.  Pro se litigants/counsel are instructed to call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) as soon as they receive the status conference notice, but no later than the date of the status conference. The case may be dismissed if the Plaintiff or Appellant does not  contact Judges' Chambers by 4:00 p.m. on the date of the status conference.  
      • What to do if you receive a Status Conference Notice.  (Step #1) - DO NOT COME TO THE COURTHOUSE.  (Step #2) Pro se litigants/counsel are instructed to call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) together on the same conference call as soon as the status conference notice is received, but no later than the date of the status conference.  (Step #3) Be prepared to discuss the specifics of your case. (A) If no service has been requested, be prepared to explain why. (B) If a trial date is being selected, please have your calendar available, have the number of trial dates needed for trial available, and have all counsel/pro se litigants together on the same conference call. Attorneys scheduling trial dates for other attorneys should always obtain the other attorney's available dates or avoid dates on hand before agreeing to set the trial date. 
        • When to call Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123) - Telephone hours during COVID-19 - Court administrators answer the Circuit Court Judges' Chambers' telephones from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and then again from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The telephones are not answered during the lunch hour from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.   Call  after receiving the status conference notice.  You are encouraged to call sooner than the date of the status conference. Do not wait until the date of the status conference, as the telephones get very busy and you may not be able to reach Judges' Chambers before the 1:00 p.m. deadline.
        • Deadline to call Judges' Chambers - The date of the status conference. Your case may be dismissed if you do not call Judges' Chambers by the deadline.
          If both sides fail to appear, the Court may enter an Order of Dismissal, dismissing the case from the active case docket.

 

47.  WORKING GROUP - PROMOTING EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN THE ALEXANDRIA JUDICIAL SYSTEM 

The Court will hold periodic virtual meetings to engage in candid communication in an effort to help ensure that justice is delivered in the courts of the Commonwealth, both in fact and by appearance, free from bias or discrimination. The only ground rule for participation in this group is that participants candidly share their thoughts, observations or criticisms.  Prior to each meeting, the Court Administrator will send a meeting link to all persons on the email distribution list.

  • Email distribution list - If you would like to be added, email the Court Administrator at lori.knoernschild@alexandriava.gov.
  • Upcoming events:
  • Previous events:
    • Thursday, May 20  - Presentations to T.C. Williams students.  



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