Articles Tagged with law

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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

Shows like Law and Order depict lawyers winning cases with confident arguments and saucy comments. However, charisma doesn’t make a trial lawyer successful – trial preparation does. Each case hinges on having the proper information prepared and having the right evidence to build on. Because lawyers prepare for trial behind the scenes, we don’t often see how much work goes into trial preparation.

First, the lawyer files their pleadings with the court. A pleading is a document that states the party’s position. In divorce, the lawyer files a “complaint for divorce.” If one spouse files the complaint (rather than both filing jointly), then the other will respond to it by filing answering pleadings. The lawyer must be meticulous and make absolutely sure they file the pleadings correctly.  If they don’t, it will undermine the rest of their trial preparation.

After filing the pleadings, the lawyer begins discovery.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I think I am about to be sued for alienation of affection. While I am not really sure exactly what this is, I am sure that I am not really doing this. Yes, I do have a paramour who is married. However, it is very clear to her and to me that the relationship with her husband was over when we started our affair. How can I possibly be sued when she had no marriage to speak of? I also heard a rumor that maybe alienation of affection is against the United States Constitution. Is there any movement for alienation of affection to be declared unconstitutional? Any help you can give me would ease my pain and my nervousness.

Carolyn Answers:
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Carolyn Woodruff

The most common questions I get asked as a North Carolina family law specialist are the following: What is child support? How do they determine the amount? What is the process of obtaining child support? Should I or should I not petition to receive child support?

Generally, the noncustodial parent will be court ordered to provide child support to the custodial parent. The child support is usually determined by the income of the two parents. Then the court applies the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and comes to the obligated amount. The judge or your attorney will give a breakdown of how the court came to the amount conclusion on Worksheet A or Worksheet B or Worksheet C.

The amount of provided child support continues until the child is 18 years old or finishes high school, whichever one happens last.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Divorce Recovery–this is a topic that is so dear to my heart, and one I have personally experienced. I am empathic to the unsettled souls that walk into my office. My advice–You will be okay after divorce, even if you feel like you won’t be. You could be happier than ever; I am.

 One important thing to understand is that divorce, like any loss, is a grieving process. You will go through all the stages–denial, anger, maybe depression, complacency and then back to normalcy. Unfortunately, you and your ex-spouse are usually at different stages; this often makes the process that much harder.

During this recovery process would be an excellent time to seek mental health counseling. Counseling can help ensure you don’t get stuck in any one stage too long. Talking with a counselor can help with things such as finding a new hobby or getting you out of the house. Hobbies are fun and are a great way to keep your mind off your current pain.  Plus you now have the time!

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Carolyn Woodruff

In the best interest of the child–these are the magic words in North Carolina and part of our Mission Statement at Woodruff Family Law Group.

It is always best if the parents can agree in either negotiation or mediation; however, that is not always the case. My suggestion is that the parents get on a schedule!

Getting on a schedule is especially important when your child or children are young. If two parents can simply not agree on a schedule and exchanges are becoming unbearable, I would suggest professional and legal help.