William & Mary Law Review


In this Article, Professor Colker argues that the legal system does not simply privilege those in marital relationships but has now begun to privilege those in "marriage-like" relationships through what she terms a marriage-mimicry model. She uses the law of domestic violence to critique this model. She traces the haphazard development of the law of domestic violence and argues that it has served to underprotect many of the victims of domestic violence because lawmakers have reflexively only provided legal recourse for those in marriage-like relationships without asking who is most in need of legal protection. She argues that the legal system should disentangle privileges and benefits from marriage and, instead, use a functional approach to deciding who receives those benefits.