Family Attorney

The most important part of your divorce is your recovery. Recovery means you are recovered financially, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually---the whole person. The joy is returned to your life, and YOU are okay. You will be OKAY!” Carolyn uses her twenty-plus years of experience to help North Carolina family law clients realize their individual objectives in every case she takes. Carolyn’s practice emphasizes the client and their reasonable objectives. She is experienced in business valuation in divorce, complex equitable distribution, complex custody, domestic violence, alienation of affection, alimony, grandparent’s rights, child support, and other areas of family law, such as adoption and termination of parental rights. Many people ask, “how do you win a family law case?” This varies from client to client. Some clients are sensitive to their children’s well-being; others, sometimes with adult children, want to concentrate on their respective retirement. Some clients do not wish to leave the family home. There are also the closely held businesses amid a divorce. There are executives, or their former spouses, with deferred compensation who need help. Carolyn designs her case plan for the individual client, based on her wide background as both a family law specialist and as the only family lawyer who is both a Certified Valuation Analyst (NACVA) and a CPA. Carolyn graduated with High Honors from Duke University School of Law after serving as Research and Managing Editor for Duke Law Review. Her legal career began with Tuggle Duggins and Meschan, P.A., where she became a shareholder and principal in only four years. While at Tuggle Duggins, she crafted a dynamic practice and tried complex cases in the United States Tax Court. At this time, equitable distribution was new in North Carolina. Carolyn consulted on various complex divorce cases and became a divorce business valuation expert, testifying across the state, in many instances, as an expert witness. Carolyn realized that she possessed a unique skillset due to being both an expert witness and a trial attorney, a skillset which qualified her to handle complex divorce cases. In 1994, she set out in her own firm as lead counsel in divorce and family law matters, forming what today is Woodruff Family Law Group. Carolyn continues her distinguished career as Woodruff Family Law Group has grown. The firm now has seven attorneys, two North Carolina Certified Paralegals, and a team of talented legal assistants. Carolyn has also served as Chair of the Domestic Relations Tax Committee for the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. Here, Carolyn often was featured as a national speaker, addressing topics such as corporate redemption regulations in divorce, child dependency regulations, and innocent spouse reform. Carolyn was a leader in getting the IRS to both recognize and examine domestic violence issues in relation to filing joint income tax returns. She was also vital in these domestic relations tax reforms, and due to her efforts, Carolyn became a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel, which requires a noteworthy contribution to United States tax policy and is a selective and esteemed national academic and think tank organization. Carolyn is the ONLY woman in the state who has been granted the position of fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. There are currently 16 Fellows in North Carolina. As a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA), Carolyn has served as a trailblazing speaker in continuing education for North Carolina CPAs who need knowledge of business valuation and taxation in divorce in North Carolina. Carolyn authored two continuing ed textbooks for the NCACPA as well. She has been an entertaining and award-winning presenter at more than 30 continuing ed programs for CPAs in North Carolina on these topics. Carolyn served for three years on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of CPAs, and has also served as the Piedmont Chapter President. Currently, she serves on the Symposium Committee, which hosts the largest annual continuing ed program for CPAs in North Carolina. She is also a frequent speaker at this Symposium. Carolyn currently is leading efforts on domestic violence reform in North Carolina. The tragic and unneccessary death of Laurissa Armstrong spurred her to take an active role in seeking reforms to North Carolina domestic violence laws. She has also been a writer and spokesperson on this topic.

Bar Admissions

  • 1983 State Bar of North Carolina


Duke University School of Law, 210 Science Dr, Durham, NC 27708
JD - Juris Doctor - 1983

Career Highlights

  • Best Law Firms in North Carolina - U.S. News & World Report - 2018
  • Best Lawyers - Best Lawyers - 2018
  • Largest Women Owned Businesses - Triad Business Journal - 2018
  • 10 Best Family Law Attorneys - American Institute of Family Law Attorneys - 2017
  • Top 50 Women in North Carolina - Super Lawyers - 2017
  • Top 100 2017 NC SuperLawyers - Super Lawyers - 2017
  • 10 Best Female Attorneys - American Institute of Family Law Attorneys - 2016 to 2017
Legal Resources
5 Apps for Divorced Parents
February 23, 2018 - Carolyn Woodruff

Divorce and its aftermath can be (and usually are) chaotic. Having kids and keeping track of all their things was tough enough, and now you have to coordinate your parenting with someone you may not even want to talk to, much less strategize with. These apps can’t do it all for you, but they can make things easier.


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