Prashad v. Copeland, et al.
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.
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.
- November 1989 Virginia Court of Appeals rules in favor of Lambda Legal’s clients and affirms the registration order.
- September 2006 Gaston County, North Carolina Court of General Justice enters final order, pursuant to agreement of the parties, awarding primary physical custody to Copeland and Spivey and secondary custody to Prashad.
- December 2007 Prashad initiates action in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Fairfax, Virginia, seeking to register only those portions of the North Carolina order relating to her and Spivey, thus invalidating the award of custody to Copeland.
- December 2007 The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court rejects Prahsad's arguments and registers the North Carolina order in its entirety.
- October 2008 Prashad's appeal to the Circuit Court is rejected as the court affirms the judgment of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
- October 2008 Prashad appeals to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
- March 2009 Briefing is completed.
- June 2009 Oral argument is held.
- November 2009 Virginia Court of Appeals rules in favor of Lambda Legal's clients and affirms the registration order.