Articles Posted in Advice

Divorce and legal advice from Carolyn Woodruff, the dancing divorce attorney. Questions and answers published Thursdays in The Rhino Times.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn answers two questions about summer vacation. Our first reader wants to know what the ground rules should be for a multi-generational beach trip. Our second reader is taking the family cat for a sail.

Dear Carolyn,

I just turned in the dates for my summer vacation weeks with my sons (ages 6 and 9) to my ex. In even years I pick first by May 1. I get three total summer weeks split as two weeks and one week. Week isn’t defined, but that is another story for another day and a source of arguments. I picked Saturday to Saturday because of my beach rental for the one-week session. My two boys and I are camping in the Rockies the two-week time. Now for my questions regarding the one-week time, which I would like to do with my parents, the paternal grandparents of my children:

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am a 35-year-old woman with two small children (a daughter and a son), a puppy, and a cat. I am now separated. My “ex-husband” kicks and tortures the puppy, and I do not know why. The puppy cries and then the children, who witness the violence, cry.  It is a mess. The cat usually manages to get away.  Then my “ex-husband” yells at the kids and hits them too. I am so glad he is gone, but I worry about this monster I was married to. I worry about how he will treat our children when I am not around, especially when he is drinking.  Now he wants visitation with the puppy and the children. What can I do?

– Tortured

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn includes the questions about broken separation agreements that I answered Tuesday, as well as an additional question about grandparent visitation.

Dear Carolyn,

My grandson is 7, and a tragedy has occurred. His mother (my daughter) died in a car accident. My grandson lived with me for the first year of his life while his father and my daughter were stationed active military in another country.  I kept a consistent relationship with my grandson until recently. His father has remarried and moved. The stepmother has just concluded an adoption. The father and new stepmom are not allowing me to visit. Can I get visitation? I have called, sent gifts and I have tried everything I know. What can I do?

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I live in Raleigh, NC and was divorced in 2009. Our separation agreement (signed and notarized) states that each parent is to pay one-half of all college expenses. My son is now 18 and daughter 16. My ex is now balking at paying one-fifth of the college expenses for my son. What remedy do I have?

Carolyn Answers…
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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn, 

I am divorcing, and I have three children. I want joint custody. I expect to have half the time, and I think the mother will agree. While I know we need to have the schedule of when the children will be with each parent, I am looking for a checklist of considerations other than the schedule itself. What should my concerns be?

– Father of Three

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Carolyn Woodruff

This week’s Ask Carolyn is all about lies and deceit. Our first reader is writing in about her cheating husband, and wants to know if a lie detector test will help her get justice and closure. Our second reader thought her daughter was at a Grasshoppers game with her father, only to find out that they’d lied and were miles away at the beach!

Dear Carolyn,

I want my husband to take a lie detector test. He’s cheating, and I know it. Will the lie detector test tell me what’s going on in his head, not to mention elsewhere? I need some peace of mind. Could I use the lie detector to get him kicked out of my home if he is cheating? What a louse to make me worry and fret like this. I’d like to know exactly what is in his brain.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn:

My ex-spouse is harassing me with emails and text messages. This ex is saying very mean, nasty things and calling me names. It just won’t stop. I hate to give up my cell phone number and my email address, as it would be quite complicated to change. I feel threatened. It’s like I am being followed all the time. My ex always seems to know where I am. I still have my cell phone from the marriage. Is it possible there is something planted in the phone? What can I do?

Carolyn Answers….
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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

Hello. Can you help me? I am a 51-year-old woman who got into a wedded relationship (though celibate and platonic) with this 73-year-old man who needed my financial help with his social security. It turns out he never divorced his previous wife nor did she divorce him. Mine with him, I’ve been told, is invalid and does not count, especially since we did not consummate it on the wedding night for I had my period and he was sick and we still haven’t since. It’s not like that anyway. Trouble is I am currently unemployed and need work which means I need proper and correct ID (picture, as well as the correct social security card) in order to apply for work.

I don’t have income to pay a lawyer to stamp our certificate and license invalid or whatever they do to help free the invalid spouse from the one still married to the previous one. How can I get our documents stamped invalid by the courts (the law, lawyers, Judges – whoever) so I will have proof to switch back to my original birth name to get my ID and social security correct in order to fill out applications without income to pay a lawyer?

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn addresses two questions about money and real estate. Our first reader asks if his daughter’s rent can be awarded to her as part of her alimony, as she is financially unable to move back out after divorce. Our second reader wants to know if he’s required to hire a real estate appraiser even though he already knows the value of his home.

Dear Carolyn,

My daughter is living with me after separating. I’m not charging her rent, but she wants her own apartment. Her ex is saying he does not have to pay for her apartment because she is living with me rent free. This is sort of a “chicken and an egg” situation. She cannot get the apartment without help from him, so she does not currently have the expense. She has been asked to fill out a statement of income and expenses. Her only income is disability from Social Security. So what gives? Does she have to live permanently with me, or can the court award her alimony to get her own place to live? I love my daughter, but she is 40, and it seems unfair that she would have to live with me forever for free just because her ex is ridiculous.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I am pretty sure my husband is having an affair. We are not separated. I saw a text message where she texted him that she loved him. I checked his phone while he was in the shower. Should I confront him? What should I do?

– Bewildered by the Text