Ask Carolyn…



Dear Readers,

This week’s Ask Carolyn deals with a New Year’s surprise in South Beach Miami and my eight steps to keep a New Year’s resolution.



Dear Carolyn,

I heard a rumor last week, and the rumor is true. The rumor I heard is that my estranged husband was going to South Beach with my best friend’s daughter, a young hot blonde.

It is New Year’s Eve. I’m sitting at home, saving money. And I turned on my television to see what others were doing on New Year’s. There is my ex on a red carpet on Ocean Drive in South Beach Miami. The plaything is the age of his daughter, and she is glued to him in a hot pink jumpsuit and what looks like four-inch heels going down a red carpet runway in South Beach.

He says he is having money troubles and cut his voluntary support by $2,500 this month. Now I know why, and I know what he did with my $2,500. I did DVR this television “scene.” There appears there was a red carpet leading to the South Beach party, and that is where the TV cameras were. Can I use my video clip? I am furious. Plus, I want my $2,500.


Carolyn Answers …

Do not dwell on what your ex is doing, but getting a little even might feel good in this situation.

Your alimony appears at this point to be voluntary (otherwise he would have consequences for cutting your money). While your ex is technically free to date as a separated man under North Carolina law, it is likely not wise to be so high profile, since he is not divorced. He certainly should have skipped the red carpet walk. He could have at least skirted behind the cameras.

Affairs that start after separation have no legal consequence as a fault in North Carolina alimony law. My first legal question is, when did this affair start? Did it start before separation? If so, you can use the post-separation conduct to “corroborate” pre-separation activity.

Build your evidence arsenal of pre-separation conduct, but keep your DVR. Have your attorney subpoena his phone records to see if he was calling her before you separated. Look at his last year’s credit card receipts to find any strange trips or purchases. Scrutinize these phone records and credit cards for a lead to new evidence.

Another way to use this information is to show his ability to pay you more. Of course, you will take the position that this trip was frivolous. Did he purchase clothing (jumpsuit) for her while cutting you short? You could do some discovery to see if your ex bought it, and I’ll bet he did as this sounds like a shopping trip while in South Beach. Your attorney can do a production of documents and interrogatories (questions in writing) to your ex. You can also make him answer questions under oath orally in a procedure known as a deposition.

For you, I suggest you find something new you enjoy doing. He sounds like he is having a mid-life crisis, and the age difference will likely catch up with your ex with regard to your children. At any rate, he is doing what he appears to enjoy and you should do the same. It is a new year. Get a new you.



Dear Carolyn,

I know my husband is bothered by my weight. I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight but I’m already tempted to break the resolution. How can I be thinner by next year? I want to lose weight but it is so hard, particularly with holiday weight gain. I wish there were a magic potion.


Carolyn Answers …

Thanks for writing and for your candor. You are tackling a topic most of us tackle. New habits are not easy, but here are some thoughts for you. These principles apply to all behavioral change resolutions, not just weight loss.

The goal must be yours and not something you are doing for someone else. You need to embrace the goal; otherwise, you will likely fail. Think about the health benefits of the weight loss, or think about a time when you were happy with your weight.

Your goal is too vague. You need to put some numbers on your goal. For example, do you want to lose 10 pounds? Visualize how long this will take. Will it take two months, three months, how long?

Visualize how you will accomplish your goal. You must have a plan. What routines will you change to accomplish the goal? Will you eat fewer carbohydrates like bread? Will you cut out or down on that glass of wine at the end of the day? Will you stop eating after 6 p.m.?

See a nutritionist or join a weight watch program for accountability.

Make a public declaration of your goals and ask for support of those immediately around you.

What tempts you? Is it the doughnuts that are delivered to the office by a well-meaning customer? Can you avoid that area of your office? Try to avoid the temptations as much as feasible.

Visualize yourself having accomplished the goal. How will you look and feel?

Finally, don’t beat yourself up for a mistake. If you make only 1 percent improvement per day, that is 365 percent improvement by this time next year.

Write me and let me know how you are progressing with the goal. Good luck.


Send your questions on family law and divorce mattter to, or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro 27427 or at Ask Carolyn’s comment section at Please do not put identifying information in your questions. “Like” Ask Carolyn on Facebook and follow on Instagram and Twitter at Ask_Carolyn.


Note that answers are intended to provide general legal information and are not specific legal advice for your situation. The column also uses hypothetical questions. A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need. Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by Ask Carolyn.