Articles Posted in ClientVille

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By Carolyn Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA, North Carolina Family Law Specialist

Often questions arise when domestic violence involves an assault in North Carolina. I write for the Rhino Times and have for several years. My column is Ask Carolyn. Here is a question and answer on the domestic violence topic in August 2019. Whether it is Greensboro, Asheboro, or any other North Carolina area, these issues of domestic violence are serious and affect all of us. A reader wrote:

Dear Carolyn,

My husband has a DVPO order on me based on scratches he self-inflicted. He was given possession of our house.
We have a criminal case coming up regarding this. If he is found guilty, will his DVPO order be lifted and will I be able to move back into the house?

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Logue v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2017‑234, 2017 WL 5713945 (2017)


(a) Facts: The parties entered into a premarital agreement.  The agreement provided, among other things, that the wife would receive, upon divorce, a lump sum of $100,000, plus $10,000 for each year the parties were married.


The parties married but divorced after four years.  A separation agreement required the husband to pay the wife $140,000, exactly the amount that the above provision would require for a four-year marriage.  The agreement further provided:


The parties each acknowledge that this agreement, and each provision of it, is expressly made binding upon the heirs, assigns, executors, administrators, representatives and successors in the interest of each party.


2017 WL 5713945, at *4.


A modified separation agreement then reduced the payment from $140,000 to $117,970.97 on the ground that the husband had already paid $22,029.03 in expenses for the wife.  The husband’s total liability, including the expenses, remained at exactly $140,000.  The modified agreement was incorporated into a Texas divorce decree.


The husband paid the wife the $117,970.97.  On his next tax return, he took an alimony deduction of $170,000.  Of this amount, $32,000 was for alimony paid to a prior spouse, and $140,000 was for the payments made to the wife.


The IRS disallowed the deduction above the $32,000 paid to the former spouse, and the husband petitioned for relief in the Tax Court.

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Davidson v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2018-38, 2018 WL 1611811 (2018)


(a) Facts: The parties were divorced by an Arkansas court, and the divorce decree divided the parties’ debt.  Within a few days after the decree was entered the judge sent the parties a letter, which stated:


When I made my ruling from the bench last Thursday, I failed to mention the following issues that should be included in the Decree of Divorce:


  1. The division of debt ordered from the bench shall be considered as support for Mrs. Davidson [Kelley] and shall not be dischargeable in bankruptcy[.]


2018 WL 1611811, at *1.  The court then entered a modified decree, which stated:


  1. ALIMONY: In light of the foregoing division of the debts, and real and personal property, and having reviewed all the primary and secondary factors of alimony the Court recited, the Court finds that it is not appropriate to award the Plaintiff [Kelley] alimony in this case. Further, given this Court’s division of the marital property and debt between the parties and because Mr. Davidson’s future income is too speculative to set any kind of time frame on when his income would have to improve for it to inure to the benefit of the Plaintiff [Kelley], the issue of alimony will not be held open to allow Plaintiff [Kelley] to reopen this case and file a petition for alimony in the future.


  1. BANKRUPTCY: The division of the debt ordered from the bench shall be considered as support for Mrs. Davidson [Kelley] and therefore shall not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.


Id. at *4.

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There are lots of fun activities for families to enjoy in and around Greensboro and Western NC this summer, and it’s especially important for divorced moms to get out there and make some wonderful new memories with their children. Divorce is hard on everyone, but middle schoolers are particularly sensitive. To help ease the pain and strengthen your family bonds, try these ideas on for size.

Greensboro Science Center – If you’re worried your kids’ brains are turning to mush from video games, hop over to the Greensboro Science Center to get them off the sofa and thinking about the way nature works. The zoo and aquarium are packed creatures both cute and creepy, and your middle schoolers will be learning in spite of themselves. And since nobody outgrows their fascination with dinosaurs, be sure to check out the Prehistoric Petting Zoo exhibit.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens – Winston-Salem is home to one of the country’s premiere living history museums, and it’s tailor-made to spark middle schoolers’ imaginations. Pop in and out of buildings at Old Salem to learn about how early settlers made medicine, taught school, and built furniture. Be sure to go on a Saturday to try your hand at old-fashioned baking techniques at the Winkler Bakery, where you’ll help make delicious Moravian cookies and bread. Continue reading →

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Divorce is difficult for families, so it’s especially important for dads and teens to enjoy time together to rebuild their bonds. One of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of some local activities in North Carolina this summer. Whether you’re looking for a way to spice up your weekend visitations or want a mid-week escape from the ordinary, these five activities are sure to please even the pickiest teens.

Wet ’N Wild Emerald Pointe – Gone are the days when your kids were too little to go on all the rides, so let them cool off on any one of 36 slides at Wet ’N Wild, Greensboro’s own water park. Dare each other to try the 76-foot Daredevil Drop, or challenge your kids to speed to the bottom of the Riptide Racer. If you’re not interested in thrills, there’s a lazy river and plenty of lounge chairs when you need a breather.

The Winston-Salem Dash – Is there anything quite like watching the boys of summer play ball on a balmy evening? BB&T Park in downtown Winston is clean, comfortable, and plenty of fun for teens. Sports fans will love watching tomorrow’s stars show their stuff, but even kids who aren’t that into baseball will enjoy the entertainment between innings. For teens, get tickets for Fireworks Fridays or Live Music Saturdays.

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Divorced moms in Greensboro, North Carolina, know that most teens seem to have no problem spending their days inside on their phone, chatting with their friends and watching videos or streaming shows. But it’s summertime, and the great outdoors is calling. How can you entice them to put the phone on “Do Not Disturb” and join you for some fun? Here are some activities to do with your teenager in and around Greensboro.

Go to Elsewhere – If you haven’t been to Elsewhere, now’s definitely the time to go. This three-story museum housed in a former thrift store can only be described as quirky, and it’s certainly full of SnapChat photos for your teen to send to their friends. Elsewhere is also an artistic collaborative space, with events open to the public. It’s open from Friday through Sunday and admission is $5 per person.

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During and after a divorce, divorced fathers need to be vigilant in helping their children deal with the stress, insecurity, and bewilderment they are likely to feel. This is especially true for middle schoolers who are still susceptible to feeling a wide range of emotions about the divorce, simply because they may not truly understand all the circumstances. Divorced fathers who take the time to engage in a variety of quality activities with their middle schoolers will certainly make a tremendous positive impact and improve the chances of maintaining a healthy, positive relationship.

The State of North Carolina is a treasure trove of fun activities for all ages, and middle schoolers and their divorced fathers will find many things to do right in Greensboro and the surrounding areas of Guilford County.  In the summer in and around the Triad, there’s plenty of things to do both inside and outside. North Carolina is full of amazing parks and lakes, and many of them offer a multitude of activities that divorced fathers and their middle school children can enjoy. Some of the more popular parks in Guilford County include Gibson Park, Northeast Park, Southwest Park, Hagan-Stone Park…and many others.

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by Carolyn Woodruff, attorney, CPA

As has been widely reported, Congress has repealed I.R.C. §§ 71 and 215, thereby eliminating the federal tax reduction for alimony.  In addition, Congress has repealed former I.R.C. § 61(a)(8), which expressly defined alimony as taxable income.

In tax years governed by the new law, alimony will be taxable income to the payor, and will not be taxable income to the payee.

The effective date of the change is as follows:

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By Carolyn Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA and North Carolina Family Law Specialist

The low conflict divorce might utilize a Bird’s Nest for Child Custody in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is particularly useful if that house won’t sell so no one has money for moving.

Dear Carolyn,

I just read about something that might work in my upcoming separation and divorce. I have two children who are ages eight and ten. We have to sell the marital residence for my husband and me to each buy separate residences. Therefore, we have to live together, I suppose, which is frustrating until we can sell the residence. The residence has been on the market and that we aren’t having a lot of lookers. I just heard about a “bird’s nest.” I am wondering what this is and would it work for us. My husband and I both have parents that live nearby with bedrooms each of us could use until our house sells. Can you explain this further?

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 By Carolyn Woodruff, North Carolina Family Law Specialist, JD, CPA, CVA

In North Carolina, should your parenting agreement contain a provision regarding spanking? A hot topic, and sometimes explosive in a “spare the rod, and spoil the child” mentality. So what does the research say?

Finally, we may have the definitive answer regarding spanking. A new research study looks at the negative effects, both short-term and long-term of spanking children. The study can be found in the December 2018 issue of the magazine Pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics now takes the position that spanking as a form of discipline is “not only completely counter-productive, it may be potentially damaging.” The study “found that spanking fails to improve negative behavior in young children. Instead, it leads to increased aggression in the long run. Corporal punishment may also affect normal brain development by elevating stress hormones.”

Spanking in North Carolina is legal, provided that the spanking does not leave any mark on the child.