Published on:

Mark Griffin

On Thursday, July 12, Greensboro’s John Isner battled on the green grass of Wimbledon for 6 ½ hours. It was the longest semi-final in the tournament’s storied history. Wimbledon is considered tennis’ most prestigious event, featuring 128 of the worlds best players. Isner blasted his way into the semifinals beating several top players along the way including Greece’s very best up and comer, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Canada’s top player, Milos Raonic.

Isner met South African Kevin Anderson in the semifinals for a chance to play in for the ultimate championship in tennis. Isner, a former Page High basketball and tennis star, stands 6’10” tall and was on his way for setting the record for the most aces in Wimbledon history. Anderson was almost as tall at 6’8” and backed up his booming serve with a crushing forehand. Anderson was fresh off a massive upset of the number one seed and arguably the greatest tennis player the world has ever seen in Roger Federer. Both men play power tennis, and on slick grass, that power is often rewarded with aces and groundstroke winners.

With both players being incredible servers, breaking serve would prove extremely difficult. The match predictably started with both players blasting several aces and unreturnable serves. On serve, both men were making contact over 10 feet off the ground and were hitting up to 140mph serves. The first set would see no service breaks as it went to a tie-break. Anderson got the better of Isner winning that tie-break 8 to 6. The first set was desperately close with very little separating the two foes. The tightness of the first set would set foreshadow a long close match.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Looking for a new way to organize or connect? Here are some of the best apps for families.

Apps for Organization

Stridepost – This family managing app features chore lists, allowance trackers, and a family calendar, all of which sync across devices so that the whole family’s on the same page. Parents can add tasks to a child’s to-do list, which the child then receives points for completing. At the end of the week, kids get their “payday” and collect the points, which are redeemable for rewards. Both parents and kids can add rewards. Both kids and parents can add events to the shared family calendar, and family members can keep each other updated using the built-in family chat. (For parents: iOS, Android; for kids: iOS, Android)

Published on:

Mark Griffin

If you have children, you likely have gotten that dreaded call from your child’s teacher. Unfortunately, it’s almost always negative. I am a public school teacher of 87 middle schoolers but I also have two daughters. Therefore, I’ve been on both ends of the call. I have experienced exasperation as both a teacher and a parent. However, I’ve also experienced the unstoppable synergy that occurs when teachers and parents work together to help a student reach their academic potential.

So go to your child’s open house. Meet the teacher, shake hands and show a great deal of interest and enthusiasm in what’s going on in the classroom. Ask lots of questions, make sure you sign up for class newsletters and websites. It’s easier for a teacher to check email than return phone calls, so make sure you have the teacher’s email address and that the teacher has yours. I love all the emails I get from my parents on a weekly basis. I always thank them for their support and listen to their concerns.

About three years ago, I received an old-fashioned letter from a parent. The letter was mailed from one of my student’s home with an actual USPS stamp! In my 15 years of teaching, I’d never received a “snail mail” letter from a parent, so I opened it with great interest. It stated that due to a work conflict she was unable to attend the open house. However, she expressed a great deal of interest in how her daughter could be successful in class. She gave me all her contact information and detailed her daughter’s academic strengths and weaknesses. She expressed a positive attitude toward homework and maintaining a regular line of communication. I’ve decided to copy her idea, and mail my daughter’s teachers because I know that teachers get thousands of emails so handwritten letters stand out.

Published on:

Mark Griffin

No family wants to suffer the social embarrassment of having the cops called on them. As a former police officer, I discussed domestic violence calls in my last blog. Now, here are three of my tips to prevent that from happening in the first place.

#1: Establish family ground rules for communication

  • Never speak when someone else is talking.
Published on:

Mark Griffin

In this blog on communication, I will share what I have learned from my experience, both recovering at Cone hospital and from my time as a Greensboro police officer.

In my last blog, I spoke about Angela, the Assistant Director of the Rehab unit. Communication is vital in rehabilitation. Angela deals with patients who have suffered brain injuries, due to strokes or trauma, and has learned tricks to help her and others more effectively communicate.

She said that when she feels an argument brewing between her and her husband, she applies her experience with brain-damaged patients to curb potential arguments:

Published on:

Mark Griffin

Too often here at Woodruff Family Law Group, we encounter families who are splitting up, often in the aftermath of a breakdown in communication. Once a family is no longer able to effectively communicate with one another, it is just a matter of time before even simple matters must be adjudicated with the help of our legal team.

According to an article in The Huffington Post, lack of communication is the number one reason couples split up. Communication in dysfunctional families frequently involves lots of screaming,verbal threats, and all too often, physical violence.

When communication breaks down with the ones we need to communicate with the most, the frustration becomes overwhelming as we desperately seek to be heard and understood.  Ironically, the more we try to make ourselves understood, the less likely it is that our message is being absorbed by our intended target. When it becomes obvious that our calm and rational words are not enough, we escalate to louder tones. The communication we receive in response tends to rise to meet or exceed our level of agitation. Soon, we are screaming at each other in a blind rage. Ironically, the deeper our love is for one another may actually raise the intensity level of the arguments.

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I reluctantly entered into a consent child custody order with the mother of my child in 2013. We were never married and never actually lived together. The child is now five having been born in 2011. I get visitation under the 2013 order, but the court never heard any evidence in 2013. We simply agreed. Now, I am very concerned this mother is unfit. She continues to smoke around the child who has asthma. She also has been charged with drug possession in both 2012 and recently. She will not let me have a relationship with my kid. She threatens to move out of state. There are things I need to tell the court about from the child’s birth until 2013 (date of current custody order), but my attorney says I cannot use the 2011 to 2013 evidence in my motion to modify custody. I want primary custody with the mother having supervised visitation. Is there any way I can present the proof of what this mother was like from 2011 to 2013? I think the mother of my child is unfit. What can I do?

– Worried about unfit mother

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I have received spousal alimony since a 2003 court order until death. I would like to get an increase because of the economy. My ex-spouse receives three times my social security and retirement. His home is paid for and he owes three motor vehicles. His social security and retirement from a big local company is great. I received zero from this after 38 years of marriage. He was in Management. What are my chances of getting an increase?

Carolyn Answers:

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am the father of two children, ages 10 and 12.  The mother of the children lives in West Virginia, where she moved after our divorce. The children were born and always have lived in North Carolina. The North Carolina order for custody allows the children to travel to West Virginia for 5 weeks in the summer. Last year the mother did not return the children when she was supposed to at the end of the summer, and the court here held mother in contempt. She filed for custody in West Virginia last summer claiming fictitious abuse of one child, but that case in West Virginia was dismissed. Then, I got them back. I heard that this might be kidnapping under some federal law. Can you explain kidnapping and whether I have any right with regard to kidnapping if this happens this summer?

– Frustrated and Looking for Options

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am a grandmother, and I want to help pay for the tuition for my grandchild’s day care and education at a nice day care facility.  Then, my daughter and son-in-law can work without worry.  They own their own business, and they both need to focus some quality time on the business, while maintaining my grandson as top priority.  My toddler grandson will benefit from the education and interaction with the other children at this particular day care, but it is darn expensive.  Should I give the money directly to my daughter or to the day care?  Is there a tax advantage one way or another?

           – Grandmother of the best grandchild ever…