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Every family is unique and everyone deserves access to skillful legal representation, regardless of their sexual or gender orientation. At Terry Frank Law, we are passionate about equal justice and equitable treatment for members of the LGBTQ+ community.


In October 2014, Virginia officially recognized same-sex marriage. From that point on, same-sex couples have had equal rights to marriage and, on a less positive note, divorce. Same-sex marriages hold the same legal status as heterosexual marriages and, thus, the same divorce requirements must also be met. Same-sex couples often encounter the same issues that heterosexual couples face when their marriage ends, including division of property, spousal support, and custody and visitation of minor children. However, given the fact that many same-sex couples may have begun their relationship prior to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Virginia, unique complexities sometimes arise. These complexities may involve the legal status of a same-sex couple’s children, or intricacies related to the classification of property. At Terry Frank Law, we are well-versed in these issues and use our knowledge to leverage a better outcome for our clients. Whether you are concerned about the custody of your children, what property is marital property, or something else, we are here to help you.


Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Virginia, a married same-sex couple who wishes to adopt may adopt a child together as a married couple. The adoption can either be done by both spouses together as parental placement or agency adoption or, alternatively, where one spouse is already the legal parent of a child, the other spouse may adopt the child via stepparent adoption.


In Virginia, an individual may seek a name change so long as the name change is not being sought for a fraudulent purpose or in a manner that interferes with the rights of others. In order to legally change your name, you must file an application with the circuit court of the city or county where you reside to request entry of a name change order. While the name change process can be straightforward, some jurisdictions in Virginia have distinct requirements for individuals seeking to change their name, including a city or county-specific application and court order that must be completed in a particular way. Additionally, judges have the discretion to schedule a hearing before granting a name change, meaning that you may be required to appear in court to provide additional information about the reasons for the name change.


If you were born in Virginia, a court order for a gender change is necessary to amend your Virginia birth certificate to reflect your new gender. To obtain a court order for a gender change, you must file a petition with the circuit court where you reside for an order that acknowledges your gender change. Virginia law dictates that a court order for a gender change may be issued when the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure, but the law is not specific about what constitutes a sufficient “medical procedure.” A letter from your doctor certifying that he or she has performed a medical procedure to change your sex should be submitted with your filing to the court.

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