Kristin represents clients in all aspects of family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, and equitable property distribution. She is a certified mediator and certified financial mediator.
Kristin brings more than 23 years of courtroom and mediation experience to her practice as a partner at Smith Debnam in Raleigh, in particular to matters involving grandparent visitation and domestic violence, as well as family law disputes between same-sex couples.
Prior to joining Smith Debnam, Kristin spent seven years in private practice before being elected to the 10th Judicial District Court bench in 1998, where she served as a district court judge in Wake County.
As a family court judge, she concentrated the majority of her time presiding in the courtroom designated for the enforcement of child support. While in office, she earned re-election in 2002, 2006, and 2010, and was awarded the Commissioner’s Judge of the Year Award in 2004, presented by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in Washington, DC.
Kristin is a frequent guest speaker at national and international events on issues covering child support and ethics. She is a former member of the Federal Child Support Task Force, National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and Chief Justices’ Commission on Professionalism, and has served as president of the North Carolina Child Support Council.
Kansas State University, B.S. 1974 – 1978
Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Campbell University, J.D., 1987 – 1990
Admissions Memberships and Affiliations
- Superior Court Mediator, Certified by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission
- Family Financial District Court Mediator, Certified by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission
- North Carolina State Bar
- Texas State Bar
- NC Bar Association, Member
- Board of Governors, Vice-President of the North Carolina Bar Association (2009-2010)
- Member of the Wake County Bar Association
- Member of the 10th Judicial District Bar
- Member of the Federal Task Force on Child Support (2004-2010)
- Member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) – 2000 – 2012
- Former Board Member for Carolina Correctional Services
- President, Carolina Dispute Settlement Services
- Current Board of Trustees for the Apex United Methodist Church
- Current Member of the Texas Bar Association (inactive status)
- Current Member of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
- Member of the American Business Women’s Association (1998-2008)
- Member of the Juvenile Justice Commission (2008-2009)
- 2005 President of the North Carolina Child Support Council
- Ruth, Kristin (2008) “Breaking the Cycle”by using alternatives to incarceration, unpublished paper co-authored, Raleigh, NC.
- Ruth, Kristin and Dr. Rhonda Zingraff. (2007) “New Research Shows Power of Problem-Solving Methods in Court.” Child Support Report Vol. XXIX, No. 4, April, Washington, D.C.: Office of Child Support Enforcement.
- Ruth, K. “Breaking the Cycle: Alternatives to incarceration lead to collections in Wake County, North Carolina, Child Support Report, Volume XXVIII, No. 1, January 2006, Washington, DC: Office of Child Support Enforcement. 38 (1) 2.
- Contributed to article, Ashton, J. (2006)“Child support dockets benefit from uprising problem solving court principle”: Juvenile and Family Justice Today, 14 (4), 19-21.
- Selected to participate in an “Expert’s meeting on the Draft Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance” April 20, 2006 in Washington, DC. By invitation from Mary Helen Carlson Attorney-Advisor/Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for Private International law under the US Department of State.
- Presenter at the United Nations 11th Annual Crime Congress in Bangkok, Thailand (April 2005)
- Selected to participate in“Institutionalizing problem-solving practices in all courts: A Working Summit”, Bureau of Justice and National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada, May 10-12, 2005.
- Presenter at the Annual International Conference on Restorative Justice in Winchester, England (March 2004)
- Guest speaker on Voice of America (March 2003)
- Contributed chapter entitled, “The Cookie” in “Rekindling the Human Spirit,” an anthology on life lessons. (2003)
- Contributed chapter entitled, “O ‘ Yez! O’ Yez! O’ Yez!” in, “Life, Work and Money from A Woman’s Perspective” an anthology for women. (2002)
- Numerous speaking engagements, presentations and training (nationally and internationally) on problem-solving courts, alternatives to incarceration, mediation, ethics and child support. Details provided upon request. Classes are accredited for continuing legal and judicial legal education. (1998-present)