LGBT Family Law and Related Issues
Given the uncertainty of family law in Virginia for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, it is very important for LGBT individuals in relationships to seek legal counsel and protection. Such protections can include: pre-nuptial and post-nuptial type agreements (even though marriage between same-sex individuals is now recognized under Virginia law), domesticating orders from other states (Virginia courts are obligated to give full faith and credit to the orders of other state courts), obtaining joint custody and visitation orders, and executing reciprocal wills (with trust and guardianship provisions), powers of attorney and advanced medical directives.
LGBT Reproductive Issues
LGBT individuals who seek to use assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., sperm or egg donation, gestational carriers or surrogates) to family build really need to have well drafted contractual agreements given the lack of specificity of Virginia law. Adopting a child also is trickier in Virginia for LGBT individuals and same-sex couples. For more information see the article written by Colleen Quinn on “Family Formation Options for Single and Same-Sex Parents in Virginia.”
Same Sex Divorce
When same-sex relationships dissolve or appear to be headed towards dissolution, it again is imperative to seek legal counsel and guidance. The case law in Virginia regarding such dissolutions – especially those involving children, is varied and inconsistent. Individuals confronting the dissolution of a same-sex relationship that involves children need to have a good understanding of the state of the law as well as mediation and collaborative law options.
Family and Medical Leave
LGBT individuals also often confront more issues with leave (especially under the Family and Medical Leave Act), employment benefits and fair treatment, and other areas of the law that are closely related with family law issues.
Locke & Quinn is experienced in LGBT family law issues and works regularly with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender individuals.
“This guide was drafted by Family Equality, in collaboration with Equality Virginia. It addresses many of the legal rights and issues that affect LGBTQ families currently living in Virginia. As LGBTQ equality advances across the nation, Virginia has recently enacted a number of new laws to protect LGBTQ families from discrimination in parental recognition, employment, housing, healthcare, public accommodations, and education. In this changing environment, it is important to understand what the law is in each area and how best to protect your family.”
- Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families by GLAD, NCLR, and NCLR’s National Family Law Advisory Council
- Marriage, Domestic Partnerships, and Civil Unions: An Overview of Relationship Recognition for Same-Sex Couples Within the United States by the National Center for Lesbian Rights