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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I read an article about a man who took marijuana to the courtroom in Greensboro. My ex-spouse smokes marijuana, and we are getting ready for a custody trial over our three-year-old. After my ex moved out, I found some drug paraphernalia the ex left behind in my home. I found a ceramic pipe, and I know what my ex used this for. I have never used drugs, and this is one of the reasons we broke up. I want to use this as evidence in my custody trial, but now I am afraid to take the evidence to court to show the judge. What should I do? The judge needs to see the evidence I have. I do not have an attorney, at least not yet. I don’t want to end up like Mr. Hussain, in jail.

Concerned

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am a grandmother with an adorable sixteen-month-old grandson. He has recently started a preschool while his parents work. He is learning sign language, which I think is like deaf people learn and use. I don’t remember learning about this when my children were babies. What do you think about this?

– Interested in Sign Language

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Readers, two of you submitted very exciting questions in frequently misunderstood areas in the nuances of family law. Question one deals with custody as part of a Chapter 50B domestic violence protective order. The second question deals with cohabitation when you are the recipient of alimony under an order or agreement.

Dear Carolyn,

My 50B expired one year ago. It included custody of my then 2-year-old. After a period of time does that custody order become permanent if not contested by her father?

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn addresses the marriage of minor children in the United States and a domestic violence situation involving parents who won’t allow their 20-year-old to move out.

Dear Carolyn,

I am concerned about an article I recently read concerning underage girls as young as 12 and 13 years old marrying older males in South Carolina. To me, this is sexual abuse. The article said that nearly 7,000 underage girls – some as young as 12 and 13 – have married in South Carolina in the past 20 years.

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What better way to beat the heat this July than with patriotic popsicles? If you want to really knock the socks off your neighbors though, you can’t settle for store bought. But of course, that’s why you’re here.

Don’t let the title mislead you – today I’m bringing you not one, but twelve popsicle recipes. Because today’s blog isn’t just about making a Fourth of July popsicle, it’s about making the ultimate Fourth of July popsicle. I’m talking a popsicle that bleeds melts red, white, and blue.

Ready to pick some flavors? Let’s start off with white.

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Carolyn Woodruff

The fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution creates the Parental Rights Doctrine. It is fundamental to our society that parents have the right to raise their children and the average American, I believe, has a longstanding commitment to parental rights. Except in extreme circumstances, parents have the fundamental right to parent a child and decide what is in the best interests of their own child (this article doesn’t address custody disputes between two good parents each of whom has a fundamental right to parent). This article does address the fundamental rights of parents over CPS.

In further advancement of the Parental Rights Doctrine, the United States Supreme Court has had moments of brilliance on this issue. For example, in Troxel v. Granville, 530 US 57 (2000), the United States Supreme Court aptly stated: “The liberty interest at issue in this case—the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children—is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”

So where has the societal shift happened that has placed CPS so squarely in the middle of this fundamental right to parent? I believe the shift happened with the passage of the Adoptions and Safe Families Act of 1997 during the Clinton administration. In my opinion, that Act needs to be abolished and we need to return to the Social Worker Model for CPS, as contrasted to the current Law Enforcement Model. The Social Worker Model is “working with others to accomplish a goal.” Perhaps the CPS worker would suggest a needed service, such as counseling through Family Service of the Piedmont, a great organization.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Readers,

Today’s second Ask Carolyn addresses separation as a potential tipping point for suicide and discusses the recent suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both of whom were separated from their spouses.

Dear Carolyn,
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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am a concerned mother of a 19-year-old boy, who has a drug issue and is prone to suicidal threats. He did try to kill himself once when he was age sixteen, and he was placed in the behavioral health section of a local hospital for treatment. He has recently moved out of my home and into the home of some of his friends. What kind of legal options do I have?

– Need to Know

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Venn Crawford

He might be your father, stepdad, or husband, but this Sunday, you’re celebrating him for being Dad.

There’s a lot of work that goes into being a dad. Dad brings us water and sits with us when we’re sick to our stomach. Dad walks the dog we promised we’d take care of. Dad keeps us safe from the monsters in our closets and the real ones outside. Dad does all this because he loves us. And that love right there is what makes him a Dad, whether he’s related to us or not.

This Fathers’ Day, make sure to give your Dad some of that love back, and let him know that yes, you do notice how much he does for you. If you’re not sure how to celebrate him, check out some of the ideas below.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Our first reader today finds herself in a very difficult situation: her husband is abusing opioids and alcohol, and their children are aware. She knows divorce is the only option if her husband won’t get clean, but is worried, as he supports their family. Our second reader has been separated for some time, and wants to know how divorce will affect the business he and his brothers inherited from their father.

Dear Carolyn,

My spouse is using both prescription opioids (Percocet) and alcohol. I do not think he has a prescription for the Percocet, and there are lots of cash withdrawals from our bank account. I am suspicious he is buying on the street, but where? And how? He had back surgery three years ago and I know he was using Percocet about six months. I don’t think his doctor is giving him Percocet anymore, as the health insurance is mine, and I don’t see it coming through.

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