Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic

Develop Practice-Ready Skills Advocating for Survivors of Domestic Violence

There is a saying: “He who saves a single life, it is as though he has saved the entire world.” Students in the Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic use their newly gained knowledge and skills to do precisely that. Students are educated on the nature and dynamics of domestic violence, its impact on survivors and their children, barriers to leaving, and the importance of risk assessments and safety planning. Students train to apply a trauma-informed and empowerment model of assistance and learn the basic laws and procedures to provide legal representation in one or more of the following eight practice areas: divorce/parentage, orders of protection, debt relief/credit repair, tax liability relief, housing protections, employment protections, crime victim compensation, and immigration relief.

Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic (JD 276)

Under the supervision of experienced attorneys, students in the Basic Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic will have an opportunity to perform among the following tasks: interviewing, counseling, negotiation, drafting legal documents, legal research, fact investigation, problem solving, managing legal work, oral communication, oral advocacy analysis, public education, and legal reform initiatives. Students taking the Basic Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic must register for both the class and clinic components. Students who have previously taken the Basic Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic can register for the Advanced Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic.

Basic Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic (JD 276)

Advanced Family Law & Domestic Violence Clinic

Students may be assigned to work, under the direct supervision of a clinical adjunct professor or volunteer attorney, in one or more of the following practice areas:

Divorce/Parentage (Family Law)

Represent clients on all aspects of their divorce action, including dissolution of marriage, allocation of marital assets and debts, child and spousal support, parentage cases, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, including restrictions. Represent children exposed to domestic violence as a guardian ad litem or children representative

Orders of Protection (Litigation)

Represent clients in obtaining or enforcing orders of protection or in appealing the denial of an order of protection.

Debt Relief/Credit Repair (Consumer Protection; Bankruptcy Law)

Provide information, advice, and assistance to clients on various forms of debt relief and credit repair, in particular, when the client’s abusive intimate partner engaged in financial abuse that caused the debt.

Tax Liability Relief (Federal Income Tax)

Provide information, advice, and legal representation to clients on various forms of tax liability relief that may be available to them in general or due to the domestic abuse they have experienced.

Estate and Financial Planning

Provide workshops and seminars on estate and financial planning, as well as provide individual estate planning for survivors of domestic violence.

Housing Protections (Landlord/Tenant; Civil Rights Law)

Provide information, advice, and legal representation to clients on exercising their rights under the Safe Homes Act and defending an eviction action when the eviction is based on the domestic abuse the client has experienced.

Employment (Employment Law; Administrative Law)

Provide information, advice, and legal representation to survivor clients on exercising their rights under the Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA).

Crime Victim Compensation Act (Criminal Law; Administrative Law)

Provide information, advice, and legal representation to clients on exercising their rights under the Crime Victim Compensation Act.

Immigration Relief (Immigration Law)

Provide information, advice, and legal representation to undocumented DV-survivor clients on immigration relief they may be eligible for under VAWA, self-petitions, U-Visas, T-Visas, asylum, and deportation.

Criminal Self Defense

Represent clients who are arrested for acting in self-defense from further abuse or where coerced into a crime or acting under duress due to their abusive partner. Represent clients in sentencing or re-sentencing where domestic violence is a mitigating factor.

To learn more about these practice areas, contact Professor Debra Pogrund Stark, Director, DVCAP, at 7stark@jmls.edu.

Clinic Resources