Articles Tagged with children

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Venn Crawford

The Seven Nights of Santa traveled to Lithuania for the first time this July, thanks to our friend Andrew Mastecas’s excellent work in translating the book.

The Seven Nights of Santa
My husband Dwight Ensley and I first published The Seven Nights of Santa in 2013. In my work as a family law attorney, I see a lot of divorces involving children. Holidays such as Christmas are often difficult for such families – there are disagreements over how to celebrate or which house the kids open gifts in. Additionally, media images of “traditional” families don’t represent the experiences of children of divorce. These experiences are what inspired The Seven Nights of Santa, which shows how Christmas can be magical for families of all shapes and sizes.

We give away copies of the book to clients going through a divorce, but their children aren’t the only ones who need this message. That’s why we teamed up with Andrew Mastecas, a 9th grader from New York City, who translated the book into Lithuanian and donated the copies to orphanages in the country.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Readers, today we have another Lolita story, and unfortunately, this kind of story is more common than you might think. The second question concerns an aging parent, who is perhaps incompetent.

Dear Carolyn,

I am in a book club with a group of women. One of the women in the book club has a 13-year-old daughter, and she asked me to write to you about this situation with her daughter. The daughter and mother do not live in Guilford County. The 13-year-old daughter has an uncle, the brother of the father of the 13-year-old. Unbeknownst to the mother, this uncle was apparently grooming the 13-year-old for a sexual relationship. There apparently were a couple of encounters of oral sex and breast fondling, as disgusting as that is.

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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

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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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 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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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: