How So I Cahnge Venue and Request Lowered Support Payments in Divorce in Virginia?

Full Question:

My divorce was final July of 2008 and was heard in Roanoke, VA. I want to change the venue to Bedford City and have spousal support reduced from the 36% of my income I am paying now, to 30% as my income has decreased 40% in 2009. I also want to subpoena her mortgage and health ins. payment amounts, as that is what the judge used to determine support. I also want to see her tax returns. She claims to be disabled due to depression, so I want an independent physician to evaluate her to see whether she is disabled or not. If she is I want her to apply for disability payments. I am still paying the legal fees for my ex-wifes lawyer as well as my own, so i don't want to hire another lawyer and have more legal expenses.
12/10/2009   |   Category: Venue   |   State: Virginia   |   #20002


When a divorce decree is issued by a court, that court retains jurisdiction to modify its order. A court may grant a motion for a modification of a divorce decree when the parties consent to the modification or when a significant change of circumstances justifies the modification. Certain aspects of the decree are modifiable, while others are not. The property division is not modifiable by the court. It is final. Child custody may be modified if there is a significant change of circumstances. The court's decision to grant a modification is based on the best interests of the child. A motion and petition are generally the same thing, they are formals requests to the court for something. If granted, the court will issue an order. When the order is made, the requests in the motion/petition become enforceable.

Venue is the local area in which a court, that has jurisdiction, may try a case. Jurisdiction is the geographical area within which a court has the right and power to operate. A court system may have jurisdiction to take a case in a wide geographical area, but the proper venue for the case may be one place within that area for the convenience of the parties. Jurisdiction is subject to fixed rules; however, venue is often left to the discretion of the judge.

A subpoena may only be issued by a court officer, such as a judge, attorney, or court clerk. In the discovery process of a lawsuit, a party may request information through interrogatories or a request for production as long as it is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. A party served with a discovery request may object to the request and ask the court for a protective order to limit or deny the request if it is irrelevant, overbroad, unduly burdensome, or intended for purposes of delay, expense, or harassment. If a party unjustifiably fails to respond timely to a discovery request, the requesting party may ask the court to compel the party to answer and pay costs and sanctions. It will be a matter of subjective determination for for the court whether to order an medical evaluation.

Please see the following VA rules:

Rule 8:10. Motions to Transfer Venue.

A motion to transfer venue shall be made in writing or in
court with the parties present. When a written motion is
filed, it shall be set for hearing, and the motion and notice
of hearing shall be served on all other parties or on counsel
of record, if any.

Rule 8:15. Discovery.

(a) Adult Criminal Case. — In any cases involving
adults charged with crime, the provisions of Rule 7C:5 shall
govern discovery.

(b) Juvenile Delinquency Cases. — In juvenile
delinquency cases, when the juvenile is charged with an act
that would be a felony if committed by an adult, or in a
transfer hearing or a preliminary hearing to certify charges
pursuant to § 16.1-269.1, the court shall, upon motion timely
made by the juvenile or the Commonwealth's Attorney, and for
good cause, enter such orders in aid of discovery and
inspection of evidence as provided under Rule 3A:11.

In juvenile delinquency cases when the juvenile is charged
with an act that would be a misdemeanor if committed by an
adult, the court shall, upon motion timely made and for good
cause, enter such orders for discovery as provided under
Rule 7C:5.

(c) Other Cases. — In all other proceedings, the
court may, upon motion timely made and for good cause, enter
such orders in aid of discovery and inspection of evidence as
permitted under Part Four of the Rules, except that no
depositions may be taken.

(d) In proceedings concerning civil support, the judge may
require parties to file a statement of gross income together
with documentation in support of the statement.

Please see the following VA statutes:

§ 20-108. Revision and alteration of such decrees.

The court may, from time to time after decreeing as provided in
§ 20-107.2, on petition of either of the parents, or on its own motion or
upon petition of any probation officer or the Department of Social
Services, which petition shall set forth the reasons for the relief
sought, revise and alter such decree concerning the care, custody, and
maintenance of the children and make a new decree concerning the same, as
the circumstances of the parents and the benefit of the children may
require. The intentional withholding of visitation of a child from the
other parent without just cause may constitute a material change of
circumstances justifying a change of custody in the discretion of the

No support order may be retroactively modified, but may be modified
with respect to any period during which there is a pending petition for
modification in any court, but only from the date that notice of such
petition has been given to the responding party.

Any member of the United States Armed Forces Reserves, Virginia
National Guard, or Virginia National Guard Reserves, who files a petition
or is a party to a petition requesting the adjudication of the custody,
visitation or support of a child based on a change of circumstances
because one of the parents has been called to active duty, shall be
entitled to have such a petition expedited on the docket of the court.

§ 20-109. Changing maintenance and support for a spouse;
effect of stipulations as to maintenance and support for a
spouse; cessation upon cohabitation, remarriage or death.

A. Upon petition of either party the court may increase, decrease, or
terminate the amount or duration of any spousal support and maintenance
that may thereafter accrue, whether previously or hereafter awarded, as
the circumstances may make proper. Upon order of the court based upon
clear and convincing evidence that the spouse receiving support has been
habitually cohabiting with another person in a relationship analogous to
a marriage for one year or more commencing on or after July 1, 1997, the
court shall terminate spousal support and maintenance unless (i)
otherwise provided by stipulation or contract or (ii) the spouse
receiving support proves by a preponderance of the evidence that
termination of such support would be unconscionable. The provisions of
this subsection shall apply to all orders and decrees for spousal
support, regardless of the date of the suit for initial setting of
support, the date of entry of any such order or decree, or the date of
any petition for modification of support.

B. The court may consider a modification of an award of spousal support
for a defined duration upon petition of either party filed within the
time covered by the duration of the award. Upon consideration of the
factors set forth in subsection E of § 20-107.1, the court may increase,
decrease or terminate the amount or duration of the award upon finding
that (i) there has been a material change in the circumstances of the
parties, not reasonably in the contemplation of the parties when the award
was made or (ii) an event which the court anticipated would occur during
the duration of the award and which was significant in the making of the
award, does not in fact occur through no fault of the party seeking the
modification. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to suits
for initial spousal support orders filed on or after July 1, 1998, and
suits for modification of spousal support orders arising from suits for
initial support orders filed on or after July 1, 1998.

C. In suits for divorce, annulment and separate maintenance, and in
proceedings arising under subdivision A 3 or subsection L of § 16.1-241,
if a stipulation or contract signed by the party to whom such relief
might otherwise be awarded is filed before entry of a final decree, no
decree or order directing the payment of support and maintenance for the
spouse, suit money, or counsel fee or establishing or imposing any other
condition or consideration, monetary or nonmonetary, shall be entered
except in accordance with that stipulation or contract. If such a
stipulation or contract is filed after entry of a final decree and if any
party so moves, the court shall modify its decree to conform to such
stipulation or contract.

D. Unless otherwise provided by stipulation or contract, spousal
support and maintenance shall terminate upon the death of either party or
remarriage of the spouse receiving support. The spouse entitled to
support shall have an affirmative duty to notify the payor spouse
immediately of remarriage at the last known address of the payor spouse.