The Circuit Court of Fairfax County is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia, and certainly one of the busiest. In most cases, the Court will not hear motions for temporary rulings on custody and visitation. A Motion for Pendente Lite Relief is a request of the Court to enter a temporary order that would remain in place until a final order is entered, whether by agreement or after a trial.
In many divorce matters where physical custody of a child is in question, parents are unable to reach an agreement. A motion forPendente Lite relief, however, is usually not an option in the Fairfax County Circuit Court, absent extenuating circumstances. If a parent is denying access to a child, or if a child is in immediate physical danger while in the custody of one parent, the court may hear a motion for temporary custody.
If circumstances require a prompt decision regarding custody, a final trial can be expedited and requested through judges' chambers. In the meantime, the parties are left to work it out amongst themselves and their attorneys. An important consideration to keep in mind is that the Court will certainly consider the actions of parents, while custody is pending, when determining final custody. Denial of access to the child, poor communication with the other parent, or unilateral decision-making can negatively affect a parties' request for custody.