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Quinn Law Centers Articles

2016 New Overtime Rules – What Businesses Need to Know

On December 1, 2016, new rules will go into effect regarding overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, most hourly and salaried blue-collar workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, the FLSA also contains several exceptions to this rule. The most common is the “white collar exemption” – an exception for higher-paid workers who generally have Read More

Equal Pay Act (EPA) v Title VII

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII both were created in an effort to stem discrimination in the workplace. When thinking of the EPA and Title VII, a lot of people think of salary and gender discrimination, but it may be easiest to think of them as swimming pools. The EPA is like a kiddie pool that can only fit a small number of people whereas Title VII is Read More

VSU at center of lawsuit

"Four female members of Virginia State University's faculty and staff are suing the university and its governing board over alleged gender-based pay disparities, sexual harassment and favoritism, and retaliation when they complained.

The separate lawsuits were filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, associate professor of languages and literature; Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology and social work; Sandra Evans, director of the first-year experience program; and Bridget Wilson,

Read More

Colleen Quinn Wins the Entrepreneur of the Year Award

2016 Women of Excellence Awards Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of the Quinn Law Centers (including the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women's Injury Law Center), as well as Locke & Quinn, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Colleen was among three other award winners that evening, recognized in Read More

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?

Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here Read More

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate

Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person’s certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person’s name

Read More

Family Formation Options for Single Parents and Married Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

Assisted Reproductive Technology, Adoption and Other Legal Options AFTER Marriage Equality As of February 2016 Family formation for singles and same-sex couples in Virginia has become much easier for same-sex married couples since marriage equality occurred in October 2014. Moreover, whether married, unmarried or single, there are a variety of options available, especially with advances in medical technology. Hopefully, with continued changes in the law, challenges to the law, and creative approaches, Read More

Top Nine Tips If You’re in a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you are in a motor vehicle accident and you believe the other driver was at fault, or it is not clear who may have been at fault, what should you do? Call the police. Collect and exchange information with the other drivers, passengers and eyewitnesses. Capturing complete eyewitness information is essential; especially if you are on private property or the police otherwise say they cannot be involved. Unless you are severely injured Read More

Estate Planning

Putting your legal affairs in order is the best gift you can give to you and your family in the New Year. Unfortunately it is hard to predict if and when we might be incapacitated and not capable of handling our own affairs, including caring for our children, or if and when we cannot make medical decisions for ourselves. While commonly called “estate planning” – putting your legal house in

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Salon and Spa Injuries

Most individuals making appointments with beauty or hair salons or medical spas do not anticipate the risk of injury associated with these businesses. However, it is essential to do your homework before making an appointment for a salon or spa procedure – even just a simple highlight or coloring job! It is important to sign up with only licensed, bonded, insured and well-qualified beauticians

Read More

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2016 New Overtime Rules – What Businesses Need to Know


On December 1, 2016, new rules will go into effect regarding overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, most hourly and salaried blue-collar workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, the FLSA also contains several exceptions to this rule. The most common is the “white collar exemption” – an exception for higher-paid workers who generally have better benefits, job security, and opportunities for advancement, who generally meet three criteria:

  1. First, they must be paid on a salary basis (rather than hourly, for example).
  2. Second, they must pass the “job duties” test, meaning that they perform the type of work associated with exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees.
  3. Third, their salary must meet the “minimum salary threshold” established by the Department of Labor. The biggest change that will occur on December 1 is this amount will be raised to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year, almost double the current threshold amount. Most employees earning less than $913 per week will be entitled to overtime once the new law goes into effect, regardless of whether they are salaried or pass the “job duties” test.

Bonuses and Commissions – The new law will permit up to ten percent of the white collar exemption salary threshold to be met by non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay, or commissions, provided these amounts are paid on at least a quarterly basis.

Exceptions – Some types of employees may fall into another exemption under the FLSA, which does not require them to pass the white collar salary threshold test; therefore, these employees will not be affected by the new regulations. These types of employees include among others:

  • Outside Sales Employees
  • Drivers who fall under the motor carrier exemption.
  • Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers

“Highly Compensated Employee” (HCE) Threshold – Another change is to the salary threshold for the “highly compensated employee” exemption which is currently $100,000 per year, with at least $455 per week on a salary or fee basis. That amount will be raised to $134,000 per year, with at least $913 per week on a salary or fee basis.

 Future Planned Increases – Employers should prepare for the minimum threshold amounts for both the white collar and the HCE exemptions to change regularly every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.

 Options for Businesses after December 1, 2016 – For employees who do not currently receive overtime, but may be eligible after December 1, employers may opt to:

  • Raise Salaries
  • Pay Overtime, and/or
  • Cap Hours and Hire Part Time Employees

This article provides general information only. A more detailed summary is available by email to quinn@lockequinn.com or dean@lockequinn.com Locke & Quinn provides employment law services. Article provided by Kati Kitts Dean, Esq. and Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about

Equal Pay Act (EPA) v Title VII


The Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII both were created in an effort to stem discrimination in the workplace. When thinking of the EPA and Title VII, a lot of people think of salary and gender discrimination, but it may be easiest to think of them as swimming pools. The EPA is like a kiddie pool that can only fit a small number of people whereas Title VII is an Olympic-sized pool that can fit a large number of people.

Who is protected?

Under the EPA, individuals can only sue if their employer is paying them differently than another employee based on their sex. Furthermore, you have to compare yourself to an employee whose position is substantially equal to yours. This tends to be the most difficult part of filing an EPA claim because many people choose to compare their wages to people who aren’t in similar positions. Lastly, as if all of those hoops were not enough, the law gives employers exemptions in certain situations for paying their employees less based on sex.

On the other hand, Title VII is a lot broader than the EPA. Under Title VII, individuals can sue if their employer is discriminating against them based on their race, color, national origin, sex or religion. Title VII can encompass discrimination other than visit in pay differential such as sexual harassment, unlawful termination or other discrimination in the provision of job benefits.

So, why would anyone file an EPA claim?

You’re probably wondering “If an EPA claim is so hard to file under, why would anyone use it?” There are two main reasons someone might file an EPA claim over a Title VII claim for wage discrimination on the basis of sex. First, in order for someone to file a claim under Title VII, your employer must employ at least 15 people. If your employer has less than 15 people working for them, no Title VII claim can be filed. However, under the EPA, there is no minimum number of employees needed to file your claim. Second, in order for someone to file a claim under Title VII, they have to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing suit and the EEOC has a mandatory 180 days to consider the claim. Under the EPA, you don’t have to go through the EEOC, which means that a lawsuit can be filed much sooner.

VSU at center of lawsuit


“Four female members of Virginia State University’s faculty and staff are suing the university and its governing board over alleged gender-based pay disparities, sexual harassment and favoritism, and retaliation when they complained.

The separate lawsuits were filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Deborah Goodwyn, associate professor of languages and literature; Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology and social work; Sandra Evans, director of the first-year experience program; and Bridget Wilson, associate director of student health services.”

Read more on this story by clicking the links below:

http://m.progress-index.com/news/20160602/vsu-at-center-of-lawsuit?platform=hootsuite

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/chesterfield/article_cf93e057-cf8e-56d1-901c-3ff9c3099951.html

http://wtvr.com/2016/05/18/4-female-employees-sue-vsu/

http://wric.com/2016/06/02/4-female-vsu-employees-sue-over-pay-inequity-sexual-harassment/

Colleen Quinn Wins the Entrepreneur of the Year Award


2016 Women of Excellence Awards

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of the Quinn Law Centers (including the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center and the Women’s Injury Law Center), as well as Locke & Quinn, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Colleen was among three other award winners that evening, recognized in categories such as Community Leader, Rising Star, and Student Entrepreneur. The post below is from the March 17, 2016 Richmond Times-Dispatch article about this year’s event.

‘Creative and Courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners

Four Richmond-area women were honored Thursday evening with 2016 Women of Excellence Awards by the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

“The women who are honored at the dinner represent some of the most creative and courageous entrepreneurs in our region,” Myra Howard, president of the NAWBO Richmond Foundation, said before the event. “They exhibit passion, courage and perseverance and all have exceptional stories of relevance.”

Danielle Gildbert

Danielle Gilbert, administrative director in human resources with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, won in the Community Leader category. Gilbert is a high-performing person who is committed to the evolving mission of Catholic health care and volunteerism, according to the association’s write-up about the award winners.

Katherine Wintsch

Katherine Wintsch, founder and CEO of The Mom Complex, a consultancy firm, was honored as the Rising Star. Wintsch is a leading expert on modern motherhood and, as the founder of a consulting firm, companies rely on her and her team to reveal the good and the bad behind motherhood and turn those insights into new products and services for mothers. She also served as the 2015 Richmond Christmas Mother, which provided Christmas gifts for children in need and supported Christmas-related projects throughout the area. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has sponsored the annual fund drive since 1935.

Erica Amatori

Erica Amatori, a student at the College of William and Mary, was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Amatori is an entrepreneur, student-athlete and scholar in business and psychology. She founded a software company and created a nonprofit.

Colleen M. Quinn

Colleen M. Quinn, an attorney and owner of Locke & Quinn, won Entrepreneur of the Year. Quinn practices in the areas of adoption and surrogacy, personal injury, employment law and estate planning. She is the president-elect of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys.

Event Speakers and Attendees

About 300 people attended the event at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa Short Pump. Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe opened the program. Lisa Schaffner, director of public relations and marketing for United Network for Organ Sharing, commonly known as UNOS, was the emcee.

The keynote speaker, business owner and author Christie Garton, imparted advice on motivating millennials — who she identified as people born from 1977 to 2000 — as employees and consumers. “Millennials are influential not only for their size (a quarter of the U.S. population) but also as consumers (purchase power of $1.3 trillion annually),” Garton, 36, said before the event. Garton is founder and CEO of 1,000 Dreams Fund, a nonprofit whose purpose is to support the dreams of young women with $1,000 scholarships, and creator of UChic, a lifestyle brand for teenage girls and young women.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Richmond National Association of Women Business Owners Foundation, which supports the educational programs of the Richmond Chapter of NAWBO.

Read the full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch article ‘Creative and courageous’ Entrepreneurs Honored by Women Business Owners by Carol Hazard.

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?


Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here are my standard suggestions:

1. Adoption Law Courses

Take as many adoption law courses as you can – especially ones that are state specific. I have given quite a number of such courses that are available for purchase as webinars with Lawline that can be taken right at your desk and last only 90 minutes.

2. Virginia CLE Book

Purchase the Virginia CLE book on Adoption Procedures and Forms.

3. Guardian Ad Litem Certification

Get certified as a guardian ad litem. Then advise every adoption attorney that you know (see the ones listed on the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) website at http://www.adoptionattorneys.org) that you are available to be appointed for the child in adoption cases. While some courts will not let attorneys select their guardians ad litem, some do – and adoption attorneys like having guardians ad litem who are familiar with adoption law.

4. Adoption Attorney Shadowing

Ask to shadow adoption attorneys – look at the http://www.adoption attorneys.org website for the AAAA Fellows in your area

5. Birth Mother Representation Experience

Make sure adoption attorneys know you are available to represent birth moms. If you can first shadow an adoption attorney representing a birth mother that will help.

6. Local Adoption Agency Involvement

Attend local adoption agency programs and presentations. Get to know local agencies and social workers who might refer business to you.

7. Adoption Attorneys Conferences

Attend the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys conferences regarding adoption that are open to non-members. These are the Mid-Year Conferences and they are held in the Fall and posted on the AAAA website. There is one coming up on September 22-24, 2016 in New Orleans that is being held in conjunction with the National Council for Adoption.

8. Capital Law School Summer Program

Consider attending the Capital Law School week long summer program on adoption.
Join the ABA Family Law section – and more specifically the Adoption Sub-Committee.

 

Hope that helps you to get started!

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate


Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person’s certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person’s name is submitted, to show a new name.       

What does this mean? First, if you are a transgender individual born in Virginia and you want to amend your birth certificate in order to correct your name and gender, you will need a court order to do so. Virginia courts provide forms to allow individuals to petition for a name change, and, very recently, have also created a separate form to allow individuals to petition to change their gender marker on their birth certificate. Consequently, most people who want to amend their Virginia birth certificate to correct their name and gender may be able to do so on their own. However, if you have questions about the process or the type of documentation you will need to attach to your petition, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law and can help walk you through the process.

As you can see from the statute section above, Virginia law requires court orders for gender corrections to indicate that the sex of an individual has been changed “by medical procedure.” In other words, if you want to petition the court for an order to correct your gender on your birth certificate, you will need to attach an affidavit from a medical professional. The law does not specify what “medical procedure” means exactly, and the form provided by the Virginia Supreme Court does not specifically require proof of surgery; it simply directs you to “attach documentation from a licensed provider indicating that the sex of the individual has been changed by medical procedure.” Accordingly, the affidavit from your medical provider should be acceptable as long as it confirms that your gender has been changed by medical procedure, however you and your provider define that. In most cases, as long as your petition form is filled out correctly and includes all of the necessary documentation, a court will not require a hearing before entering an order to correct your name and gender on your birth certificate.

Our firm is experienced in assisting transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates to reflect their correct name and gender. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about our birth certificate amendment services. You can also download the forms to petition the court for a change of your name and gender here:

Name change:http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/circuit/cc1411.pdf

Note: Some jurisdictions have local versions of this form that they require you to use. You should check the website for the civil circuit court in the county or city where you live, or call the clerk of court for specific instructions.

Gender marker change: http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/circuit/cc1451.pdf

Family Formation Options for Single Parents and Married Same-Sex Couples in Virginia


Assisted Reproductive Technology, Adoption and Other Legal Options AFTER Marriage Equality

As of February 2016

Family formation for singles and same-sex couples in Virginia has become much easier for same-sex married couples since marriage equality occurred in October 2014. Moreover, whether married, unmarried or single, there are a variety of options available, especially with advances in medical technology. Hopefully, with continued changes in the law, challenges to the law, and creative approaches, these options will continue to evolve and provide more legal security in family formation for single and same-sex families – including unmarried couples.

 

A. Assisted Reproductive Technology Options for Single Parents in Virginia.

(1) Single Intended Mother Uses Donor Sperm.

The simplest assisted reproductive technology method for a single parent in Virginia is when the intended mother obtains donor sperm (known or anonymous) and is artificially inseminated and carries her own child. Whether the sperm donor is known or anonymous, all that is required as far as parental rights are concerned is a very sound and comprehensive sperm donor agreement. Because many fertility clinics do not have adequate sperm donor agreements, nor any agreement at all between the donor and the recipient, it is very important for the single intended mom to protect herself by ensuring such an agreement is executed (that is, a sperm donor agreement directly between her and the donor – not just an agreement with the clinic). Important issues should be addressed such as the provision of future medical information, donor identity disclosure, donor registry, and future donor contact. Even if the donor is anonymous, it is relatively easy to have such an agreement put in place.

At birth, the intended mother is listed on the birth certificate and she lists the father as unknown.

(2) Single Parent Adoption.

Single Parent adoption is well established in Virginia law and is an option for a single male or female. Unless the adoption is of a close relative that has been in the adoptive parent’s home for at least three years, the adoptive parent will need to have a home study done. The adoptive parent can adopt within Virginia or can adopt a child from another state. Typically, the adoption is either an agency adoption or a parental (private) adoption. While single parents can adopt from foreign countries, there are a limited number of countries that will permit a single parent (as opposed to a married heterosexual couple) to adopt. Single parents also can adopt children out of foster care. All of the intricacies and legal processes of a single parent adoption are beyond the scope of this article.

(3)  Single Intended Mother Contributes Her Own Egg and Uses a Gestational Carrier.

Virginia’s surrogacy statute, Virginia Code section 20-156, et. seq., Status of Children of Assisted Conception, only applies to married intended parents using a gestational carrier. Arguably the statute is unconstitutional as discriminatory based on marital status. However, it has not yet been challenged. Moreover, because there is no statutory or case law prohibition on a single intended parent using a gestational carrier or surrogate, single parents can still utilize a gestational carrier in Virginia.

In such an event, the intended mother and the gestational carrier enter into a gestational carrier agreement. Notably, the enforceability of such an agreement in Virginia is not clear. Also a comprehensive sperm donor agreement should be executed as discussed above in Part A(1). DNA testing must be conducted after the birth to confirm that the intended mother is the genetic mother. Then, by utilizing Virginia’s Parentage Act, found at Virginia Code section 20-49, et. seq., an Order of Parentage can be obtained after the birth. Such an order finds that the intended mother is the legal and genetic mother and orders that her name be placed on the birth certificate.

Provided that an acceptable, comprehensive sperm donor agreement was executed (this is a very important and a necessary document to the parentage proceedings), the sperm donor will have no parental rights and, after the Order of Parentage is entered, the birth certificate will list only the single intended mother as the parent. Of course this is an evolving area of the law and further is dependent on the particular court. However, this author successfully has obtained several of such parentage orders to date and there is no reason for the court to refuse to enter the order provided all parties are in agreement.

(4) Single Intended Mother Does Not Use Her Own Eggs (is Not Genetically Related) and Uses a True Surrogate or a Gestational   Carrier Who Carries Donor Eggs.

If the intended mother’s egg is not used – but, instead the carrier contributes her own egg (defined as a “true surrogate”) with donor sperm or carries donor egg combined with donor sperm (or a donated embryo), and the child is born in Virginia, then a single parent adoption must be performed after the birth as set out in section (2) above. If donor egg and/or donor sperm is used, again, as previously stated, separate comprehensive donor agreements must be entered into between the donor and the recipient. These documents oftentimes must be incorporated into subsequent court proceedings.

Prior to the insemination or embryo transfer, the intended mother enters into a surrogate or gestational carrier agreement with the surrogate/carrier. Again, as previously noted, the enforceability of such an agreement in Virginia is unclear. Moreover, because the intended mother is not genetically related to the child, these situations are very risky as the intended mother may have limited recourse should the surrogate or carrier breach the contract and decide to keep the child. So long as the surrogate or carrier is committed to the process, a single parent adoption needs to take place after the birth.

(5) Single Intended Father Uses His Own Sperm With Donor Egg and a Gestational Carrier.

Situations involving a single intended father using a gestational carrier with donor egg and his own sperm where the child is born in Virginia are possible but also risky in terms of the enforceability of the outcome. Again, a gestational carrier agreement is executed. While Virginia’s statute on “Status of Children of Assisted Conception” only recognizes “intended parents” defined in the statue as a husband and wife in a carrier or surrogate arrangement, there is no express prohibition on single people using a carrier and arguably the statute is unconstitutional as discriminatory on the basis of marital status.

At birth, if the intended father’s sperm is used, and the gestational carrier is unmarried, then the gestational carrier easily can place the intended father’s name on the birth certificate. If the carrier is married, she may choose to list the father as unknown or may try to name the intended father who also must sign an acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital. However, hospital policies vary on their interpretation of whether a married mother can list someone other than her husband on the birth certificate application in which event the hospital will have to be convinced by pre-birth DNA testing or by a doctor’s affidavit or by an Acknowledgement of Paternity signed by both the carrier and the Intended Father.

If the intended father is not permitted by the hospital to be listed, then DNA testing can be done to establish that the intended father is the genetic father and the carrier’s husband is not the genetic father. Then Virginia’s parentage act can be utilized to obtain an Order of Parentage establishing that the intended father is the legal and genetic father. However, even though one of the foregoing routes can be used to get the genetic intended father on the birth certificate in Virginia, the problem is then getting the gestational carrier off the birth certificate and otherwise ensuring that any parental rights or responsibilities she has for the child are extinguished. If donor egg is used, in theory it should be legally possible to utilize DNA testing to establish that the carrier is not the genetic parent and use Virginia’s Parentage Act to get an Order of Non-Parentage entered. Technically, the failure of the court to do so violates the Equal Protection Clauses of both the Commonwealth of Virginia Constitution (Va. Const. art. I, § 1) and the U.S. Constitution (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1) since a man can get relief via DNA testing in conjunction with Virginia’s Parentage Act to get off the birth certificate and relieve himself of parental responsibility. It therefore follows that a woman should be able to do so as well. The first court this author tried this process with in 2011 refused to enter the Order of Non-Parentage. In that case the clients did not want to pursue the matter further as they were a same-sex male couple who could do a second parent adoption in Washington D.C. to remove the carrier from the birth certificate and place the second father on it instead. At the time of this writing (February 2016), this author has been successful in one case in Henrico Circuit Court in having a court in Virginia enter an Order of Non-Parentage as well as the removal of the carrier’s name from the birth certificate.

In sum, a safe known route at this time in Virginia is for the single dad to do a single parent adoption (it may sound strange for a genetic father to have to adopt his own child and the judges in these cases seem to find it amusing). And hopefully the less intrusive (no home study required) Order of Non-parentage route will gain traction.

(6) Single Intended Father Uses a True Surrogate (Who Contributes Her Own Egg) with His Own Sperm or Donor Sperm.

It is possible in Virginia for a single intended father to use a true surrogate (meaning that she is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm). Again, if donor sperm is used, then a comprehensive sperm donor agreement should be obtained. Prior to artificial insemination, the intended father and the surrogate would enter into a surrogacy agreement (again the enforceability of which is unclear). If the child is born in Virginia, the only established legal route after birth that vests parental rights solely in the father, extinguishes the parental rights of the surrogate, and places the intended father’s name on the birth certificate, is to do a single parent adoption. This is a very risky option because if the surrogate changes her mind and refuses to transfer custody of the child to the intended father, then even where the intended father was the genetic father, at best he would have a custody case and would end up with some sort of custody and/or visitation arrangement with the surrogate as well as in all likelihood a child support obligation. If he was not the genetic father (which would be the case if he used donor sperm), then in all likelihood (depending on the court), he would have no rights to the child whatsoever.

(7)  Intended Parent or Carrier Live in Another State or Child is Born in a State Other Than Virginia.

If either the single intended parent or the carrier resides in another state – then other options offered by the other state should be considered and, if possible, utilized to accomplish the objectives of the parties. Moreover, whether the child can be born in another state that has more advantageous laws also should be evaluated.

 

B. Assisted Reproductive Technology Options for Married Same-Sex Parents in Virginia

(1) Same-Sex Married Male Couple Using a Carrier in Virginia.

Since marriage equality, even if Virginia’s surrogacy statute is not expressly revised, it should be interpreted to apply to same-sex married male couples just as it would for a heterosexual married couple. Accordingly, for a same-sex married male couple, they now should be able to jointly contract with a surrogate or gestational carrier and use the birth certificate amendment administrative process post-birth as well. At birth, the hospital should honor the gestational carrier agreement as the hospital would for a married heterosexual arrangement.

An alternative route – which was the prior way in which parentage would be addressed before marriage equality – is for DNA testing to be done to establish that the intended father is the genetic father and the carrier’s husband (if married) is not the genetic father. Then Virginia’s parentage act is utilized to obtain an Order of Parentage establishing that the intended father is the legal and genetic father. Moreover, a step-parent adoption now can be done in conjunction with the Parentage Order for a same-sex married couple.

(2) Same-Sex Married Female Couple Where One of the Females Carries the Child and Uses Her Own Egg and Donor Sperm.

Where one half of the couple uses her own egg and donor sperm and delivers the child in Virginia, provided that a proper comprehensive sperm donor agreement has been executed, absent any other action, she will be the sole genetic and legal parent of the child. However, a hospital form issued by the Virginia Department of Vital records in January 2015 now permits the gestational mother and her wife in such a situation to both be listed on the birth certificate. Since being listed on the birth certificate alone is not a guarantee of legal parentage, and can be challenged since it is only administrative in nature and not a judicial order, the married couple also should do a step-parent adoption.

(3) Same Sex Female Couple where one Female “Contributes” Her Egg to the Other to Carry.

Where one half of the couple contributes her egg to the other partner to carry with donor sperm, again a clear sperm donor agreement and release should be obtained. The genetic mother needs to be very clear in any agreements with the fertility clinic that she does not intend to be a donor (which arguably would preclude her from having any parental rights) but that she intends via her contribution to be a parent. Most fertility clinic documents need to be revised for these situations.

In addition, as between the partners, the gestational and genetic moms should enter into a Parenting and Non-Donor Agreement so that the intent to jointly and equally parent is abundantly clear.

Upon birth, the moms have two options: to use the Parentage Act and DNA testing to establish that the genetic parent is a legal parent along with the gestational parent or to do a step-parent adoption. The downside to a step-parent adoption is that the Court has the discretion to enter an Order of Reference requiring the Department of Social Services to do an investigation and report. The cost of this can be assessed against the family. Given the intrusion and cost, as well as the fact that some parents prefer the concept of a legal parentage route over a step-parent adoption route, the parentage route may be a preferable option (despite the cost of DNA testing). Moreover, the parentage route arguably can be used if the lesbian couple is not married.

(4)  Same-Sex Married Female Couple Who Use a Surrogate or Gestational Carrier.

Because usually one of the two same-sex female partners is capable of carrying a child, it is a very rare situation whereby they would need to use a third party carrier. However, such situations sometimes do arise. In such event, if one of the partners is donating her egg, then the situation should be treated the same as where a married heterosexual couple uses a gestational carrier or where a married gay couple uses a gestational carrier as discussed above in Part A(1).

 

C. Adoption Options for Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

Since marriage equality, a married same-sex couple can do an adoption together now just as a married heterosexual couple would. In addition, the married same-sex couple can do a step-parent adoption.

Same-sex married couples also can adopt together in another state that recognizes same-sex placements and return to Virginia with the child. If they adopt in a state that only allows one of them to adopt, then they can do a step-parent adoption upon their return to Virginia with the child.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Colleen Marea Quinn

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, Colleen Marea Quinn at Locke & Quinn, P.O. Box 11708, Richmond, VA 23230 or email quinn@lockequinn.com.

Top Nine Tips If You’re in a Motor Vehicle Accident


If you are in a motor vehicle accident and you believe the other driver was at fault, or it is not clear who may have been at fault, what should you do?

  1. Call the police.
  2. Collect and exchange information with the other drivers, passengers and eyewitnesses. Capturing complete eyewitness information is essential; especially if you are on private property or the police otherwise say they cannot be involved.
  3. Unless you are severely injured and needing or receiving medical attention, take pictures of the damage to and location of the vehicles. Since most mobile phones now have cameras it should be relatively easy, or consider keeping a disposable camera in the glove compartment. In severe accidents it is becoming more common for the police to also take photos or video, so note if they do.
  4. If you are injured, get immediate medical attention even if you think you can “tough it out”.
  5. Write down the facts that occurred and what was said as soon as you are able.
  6. Notify your automobile insurance company as quickly as possible.
  7. Do not admit fault. Do not consent to work out auto damage repairs or medical care.
  8. Keep a copy of this list in your glove compartment.
  9. If you are injured, then you should consult an attorney. If the injuries and medical bills are minimal, in most instances an honest attorney will tell you that you can resolve your case directly with the insurance company for a fair settlement – eliminating paying part of the recovery for the attorney fee. The experienced attorney also may be able to provide a general settlement range. However, if the injuries are more significant, hiring a good, reputable personal injury attorney will be worth it – especially to help you navigate the medical, insurance, employment, disability, property damage and other issues involved.

This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Locke & Quinn provides personal injury and other personal legal services. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about.

Estate Planning


Putting your legal affairs in order is the best gift you can give to you and your family in the New Year. Unfortunately it is hard to predict if and when we might be incapacitated and not capable of handling our own affairs, including caring for our children, or if and when we cannot make medical decisions for ourselves. While commonly called “estate planning” – putting your legal house in order is more then just having a will that says who gets your assets upon death. Certain documents apply to you while you are living and provide critical guidance to loved ones. Your essential legal documents should include:

A Will or a Pour Over Will with Revocable Trust.

If you have children – your will is where you specify any chosen Guardian(s). Depending on the complexity of the estate and assets – a simple Will may suffice or alternatively, a Pour Over Will might be advisable in conjunction with a Revocable Trust. One really nice thing about updating your will or putting one in place is that it forces you to take inventory of your assets including digital assets (like PayPal) and put in place an instruction system for your Executor to find and access everything.

A General Power of Attorney.

This document indicates who will manage your affairs if you are not able to do so – this can include paying bills, depositing checks, transferring assets, signing legal documents and the like. Many military personnel fully understand the utility of a General Power of Attorney when they need a spouse or other family member or friend to handle their affairs while deployed.

An Advanced Medical Directive and Living Will with Organ-Tissue Designation.

These can be separate documents but oftentimes are combined. If you are incapacitated due to an accident or illness or if you undergoing a medical procedure during which you cannot make medical decisions for yourself, it is essential to designate in advance who will make medical decisions for you. It also is important to have a Living Will to specify as which point you no longer would want to be kept artificially alive and whether you want any of your organs or tissues donated to others or used for research. The Advanced Medical Directive now can be registered in Virginia on line at http://www.virginiaregistry.org.

In Virginia, another document often prepared is a Burial Designation. Whether included in your Living Will or Burial Designation, spelling out your life end plans in advance will give your loved ones more guidance should you pass away. Resolve to set out your wishes in advance – whether you prefer cremation with a beach BBQ celebration or an open casket reception and church service. And by putting your legal house in order you will kick off a great start to the New Year!

This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Locke & Quinn provides estate planning and other personal legal services. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about.

Salon and Spa Injuries


Most individuals making appointments with beauty or hair salons or medical spas do not anticipate the risk of injury associated with these businesses. However, it is essential to do your homework before making an appointment for a salon or spa procedure – even just a simple highlight or coloring job! It is important to sign up with only licensed, bonded, insured and well-qualified beauticians and establishments. Most establishments will be very happy to share their credentials and all should have their professional and business licenses and credentials on clear display as well.

By way of example, a few “salon and spa” injury cases we have handled at the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn include:

  • Hepatitis C contracted by a client getting treatments to reduce some tummy fat;
  • Client contracting MRSA and spending eight days in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics from a hair weave/braid performed so tightly that it opened up her pores to infection;
  • Client’s hair completely burnt off when having it colored by, unknown to her, an unlicensed beautician. Most unfortunately, her hair never grew back other than some sporadic fuzzy little tufts of hair;
  • Third degree burns to a client’s neck from a curling iron dropped by a stylist; and
  • Nerves in the neck of a client accidentally sutured during a face (chin) lift.

The procedures and services offered at medical spas include massages, skin treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, fillers, injectibles, facials, laser procedures for wrinkles, tattoo removal, scar/cellulite minimization, radio frequency treatments, and hair removal. Some of these establishments also offer cosmetic surgery procedures such as face lifts.

Medical spas are often led by physician directors, many with plastic surgery and dermatology backgrounds. However, the rapid growth in the medical spa market suggests that physicians from other specialties and non-physician directors are entering the business. Medical spa staff members also come from varied backgrounds including dentists, advance practice nurses, physician assistants, registered nurses, medical assistants, aestheticians, and cosmetologists.

When making an appointment, to ensure a satisfied “salon or spa” experience, rather than experiencing a mishap, be certain to investigate credentialing, licensing, bonding, insurance coverage and expertise.

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