Spear v. Omary (P)

The juvenile and domestic relations district court had jurisdiction to modify an award of child support where the plaintiff had earlier withdrawn an appeal from the JDR court to the circuit court. The remand happened automatically by operation of law, and the court of appeals erred in holding otherwise.

The plaintiff had noted an appeal to the circuit court after the JDR court had denied his request to modify child support that had alleged a material change in circumstances. Code § 16.1-106.1(F) effects an “automatic remand” whenever a circuit court enters an order noting the appellant’s withdrawal of an appeal from the JDR court. The statute doesn’t require a circuit court to expressly remand a matter to the JDR court upon a withdrawn appeal. It gives the circuit court the power to order that the case “remain” within its jurisdiction but requires that the case be remanded to the JDR court if the circuit court fails to exercise that power. Here, when the circuit court failed to expressly retain jurisdiction, Code § 16.1-106.1(F) operated to remand the case to the JDR court.

Reversed, vacated, and remanded. Two justices dissented.

Spear v. Omary (P), No. 180224, Apr. 11, 2019. SCV (per curiam) from CAV.

Categories: Opinions, Published, Supreme Court of Virginia

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