Prashad v. Copeland, et al.

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Status: Closed Approximate
Virginia Court of Appeals
Issues: Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections

Case representing a Virginia same-sex couple seeking to fend off the surrogate mother's attack on the North Carolina consent order awarding both of them primary physical custody.

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Tanya Prashad served as a surrogate mother for Roberto-Luis Copeland and Philip Spivey. As agreed by all parties, Copeland and Spivey took the child home from the hospital after delivery and have been the child’s parents ever since. Prashad later brought a custody action in North Carolina, claiming that the men promised her a permanent relationship with the child. The resulting agreement and court order gave Spivey and Copeland primary physical custody and Prashad secondary custody. When Copeland and Spivey relocated to Virginia, Prashad attempted to register only the parts of the North Carolina order relating to Spivey, the biological father, and herself, essentially asking Virginia to invalidate Copeland’s custody rights. The lower courts rejected her arguments and registered the order in its entirety. Prashad appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals, and Lambda Legal became lead counsel. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that registration of the entire North Carolina order was required.