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Lawyers and law school clinics have become myopic in their approach to civil domestic violence lawyering. This article argues that domestic violence lawyering should expand beyond its current focus on family law to move domestic violence law and practice forward. Drawing on theoretical frameworks from criminal law and feminist legal theory, this article proposes a lawyering model that expands individual representation across a wide spectrum of case types while also challenging systems that enable battering or do not support victims in their efforts to secure safety. Holistic representation in family law, public benefits, immigration, housing, mortgage foreclosure, tort, and financial matters, among other substantive areas, better serves domestic violence victims and reveals systemic problems facing victims. By taking a dual approach—broad holistic representation of individual victims combined with law reform efforts directed at systemic issues revealed through broad direct representation—lawyers and law school clinics can move domestic violence advocacy forward.
The income of the classic breadwinner married to a homemaker receives a tax advantage under federal income tax law. The conventional wisdom holds that any resulting inequities to unmarried persons or dual-earning marriages cannot be corrected without producing similarly problematic inequities. This Article challenges that dilemma by analyzing the inequity of the marital tax system from a new perspective. This Article argues that the perceived “bonus” for breadwinner-homemaker marriages is best understood as an implicit policy of “aid for affluent husband care.” Recent tax reforms (up for renewal in 2010) that partly reduced the “marriage penalty” for some dual-earning couples are inequitable not simply because these reforms exclude upper-income and lower-income marriages while penalizing single persons. More fundamentally, this Article shows how these tax reforms increase a regressive system of support for the family caretaking labor on which income earning depends. This Article aims to show how a change to individualized, more progressive rates could more equitably treat income earning and informal caretaking labor regardless of family status.
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