The Making of a Family Attorney What Matters Most F rom an early age, I had the makings of a lawyer. My mom used to tease me that I would argue with everyone who engaged However, after I started handling family law cases, I realized that my experiences in life actually made that area the natural choice for me. It wasn’t long after that I made the decision to focus my practice exclusively on family law cases. My Nontraditional Journey into Family Law 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • www.SCFamilyLaw.com • (864) 598-9172
THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center
me in conversation, possibly even the doctor who delivered me. I remember thoroughly enjoying spirited discussions in high school, and I have been strong-willed my whole life — just ask my wife! So, in some ways, I always knew I wanted to be an attorney. After graduating high school, I attended Clemson University. Instead of majoring in pre-law, I majored in financial management and minored in accounting. You may be thinking, “Ben, if you knew you wanted to be a lawyer, why did you choose to study finance?” Although my choice seems strange, I had a plan in mind. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but my ultimate goal was to have my own practice. To do so successfully, I needed to have a deep understanding of business principles and concepts. All the way through law school, I thought I wanted to be a civil and criminal litigator, and I clerked for a firm that handled personal injury cases. I loved learning the ropes at that job, and I still thought I wanted to handle civil and criminal cases. After graduation, I got a taste of general practice, handling criminal, personal injury, real estate, and family law cases.
After law school, I worked briefly for another law firm before fulfilling my dream of opening my own practice. I learned to be very picky about the cases I accepted, because one of my mentors had told me that sometimes the best cases are the ones you never take — a saying I still live by. At The Stevens Firm, we decide whether to accept cases after carefully analyzing the facts and only when we believe that we can help the client. In fact, we decline as many cases as we take in, and we refer the others to attorneys we think might be a better fit for the client.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I like to tell them that I solve puzzles. Every family law case is like a puzzle, whether it’s a jigsaw, Rubik’s cube, or video game. I can only solve a problem after determining what kind of challenge I’m facing. One of the things I love most about family law is that every day is different and each case is an exciting new puzzle to solve. Because of this combination, I never lose interest, and I never lose the passion for what I do or for helping those who need our services. As someone who has been divorced, I am able to provide advice for our clients from both the lawyer and client perspectives. I have seen and lived through the issues that many of our clients face, and I know that the emotions which accompany divorce and custody cases are often hard to put into words. My experience, both personal and professional, helps reassure my clients that I understand what they are going through and that I will work my hardest to achieve the best possible outcome for them.
I wish you and your family a wonderful and safe new year!
As a child of divorced parents, the thought of being a “divorce lawyer” never appealed to me.
Reminder About Our Firm’s Communication Policy Our promise to you is that while working on cases, our attorneys don’t take inbound phone calls, faxes, or emails. Our Senior Partner, Ben Stevens, takes no unscheduled inbound phone calls, as we have found this makes himmuch more productive and enables him to focus on getting cases resolved faster. You can always call our office at (864) 598-9172 and schedule an in-person or phone appointment with any of our attorneys, usually within 24 to 48 hours. We believe this approach is much better than the endless game of ‘phone tag’ played by most businesses today. Email is also an efficient way to communicate with us, however we only typically check
our email twice a day. If you need something quickly, call our office and speak with one our assistants who will be happy to help you. Disclaimer: This publication is intended to educate the general public about family law issues. It is not intended to be legal advice. Every case is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed, so as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety and proper credit is attributed to “The Stevens Firm, P.A. – Family Law Center (www.SCFamilyLaw.com)”.
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Want to See Better Report Cards in 2018? Make Reading a Family Resolution
everyone can share the cool stories they’ve read. Stack your completed books in your house somewhere as a monument to all the knowledge your family has gained. Set Reward Milestones Positive reinforcement will propel your kids to keep reading long after the calendars have turned. For a certain number of books completed or hours spent reading, offer them a prize. You can even create a big end goal to really cement those reading habits. Better yet, set a combined goal that the entire family can work toward. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops. If your kids know that reading one book per week through June means an extra-special summer vacation, their enthusiasm won’t wane come spring. Use Reading Apps Goodreads is a social network for bibliophiles. You can find recommendations, share ratings, and create lists of both completed and to-be-read books. Users also create reading lists based on topic, genre, decade, and more. With over 2 billion books added, you’ll never run out of inspiration. Biblionasium offers the same services, but it’s designed specifically for children. Talk to other parents and create a network of friends and classmates. After all, nothing is cooler to a kid than what their friends are doing. Avid readers tend to do better academically from kindergarten through college. In fact, a study from the Journal of Education and Practice found that reading comprehension predicted success in other subjects more than any other factor. If you want to see improved report cards, make a reading resolution for your entire household.
Every parent wants to see their child do well in school, and there’s one fun activity that benefits students of all ages: reading. In a world with so much stimulation, however, it can be difficult to motivate kids to put down a screen and pick up a book. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to make reading a priority. Here are a few tips to make 2018 the year your kids become bookworms. Make It a Family Resolution There’s no better motivator than solidarity! Plus, we’re guessing everyone in your household could stand to read a little more. You don’t have to read the same books or set identical goals, but it’s a lot more fun when everyone participates. Schedule weekly reading discussions so
Did You Know? Ben Stevens Rated ‘Superb’ With a Perfect 10 From Avvo
Ben Stevens is one of a select group of attorneys who have received a rating of ‘superb’ from Avvo . This highly respected Avvo rating uses a completely objective mathematical model to evaluate attorneys across the country, all of which are evaluated on the same set of standards. Avvo ratings are held in such high regard because they contain no bias, and they cannot be purchased. The rating was developed by legal professionals, people looking for legal services, and many other professionals who understand the work attorneys do. The rating truly reflects the type of information people have identified as important when looking to hire an attorney. After analyzing a multitude of factors and criteria, the Avvo rating system has given Ben the highest score of 10 on its scale of 1 to 10, which he has held for many years. Congratulations to Ben for this honor and for being recognized by Avvo and the legal community for his professionalism and experience.
The founders of Avvo believed it should be easier to find a quality lawyer you can trust. They believe that more information helps you make better decisions, and their website provides detailed information on lawyers and legal issues so you can make the best choice for you, your family, and your case. An astonishing 97 percent of lawyers are rated by Avvo, which makes narrowing your choices that much easier.
To read more about Ben Stevens, check out his reviews, and learn about his practice areas, visit Avvo.com for his comprehensive profile.
Celebrity Divorce What We Learn When Stars Fall Out of Love We’re reminded of celebrity breakups every time we stand in line at the checkout counter. Divorce can be an ugly affair, even when it isn’t plastered all over the tabloids. Yet it’s easy to get drawn into the “he said, she said” of our favorite stars. Why are we, as a culture, so transfixed with these high-profile separations? What, if anything, can we learn from them? Divorce can happen to anyone. First and foremost, divorce shows us a side we don’t often get to see from our idols — their vulnerability. Often, celebs seem elevated from everyday life. Breakups reveal them as relatable, sympathetic, fallible, and human. Seeing an actor or a sports star go through a divorce can provide people with much-needed catharsis. Separation can happen to anyone, and the pain, stress, and raw emotion are a normal part of the process of moving forward. There is a wrong way to handle divorce.
Slow Cooker Raspberry White Hot Chocolate
• • • •
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided 3 cups milk (any variety will do)
4 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or syrup
1. In a slow cooker, combine white chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1 cup cream, and milk. Cover and heat on low about 2 hours. 2. In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 cup cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. 3. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. 4. Serve mugs of hot chocolate with about 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur or syrup to taste and a dollop of whipped cream.
There have been some notoriously messy divorces in the world of show business. There are plenty of examples over the years of former lovers sniping and degrading each other very publicly. In an outburst back in 2002, Alec Baldwin went as far as dragging his own daughter into the feud, accusing her of being manipulated by his wife. Divorce is hard enough on families as it is. Being openly hostile or trying to involve children in
(Recipe inspired by SlowCookerGourmet.net.)
the feud only makes it worse. Divorce can be civil.
There are high-profile couples out there who have managed to handle their divorces with outward civility and grace. These stories are easy to miss since they don’t generate exciting headlines and gossip beyond the initial announcement. Troy and Rhonda Aikman kept their separation private, at least by all-star standards. They managed to keep their emotions in check, confiding in close friends and family, rather than the tabloids. This level of maturity and self-control should act as a guiding light for divorcees everywhere.
Kim Basinger with her and Alec’s daughter, Ireland.
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PAGE 1 How I Grew to Love Family Law PAGE 2 The Resolution That Leads to Better Grades Ben Stevens Rated ‘Superb’ PAGE 3 Warm Up With Some Hot Cocoa Lessons From Celebrity Divorce PAGE 4 Change Unwanted Behavior With ‘The Power of Habit’
‘The Power of Habit’ Gives You the Tools to Change Unwanted Behavior
Habits affect us in every aspect of our lives, from our offices to our houses. Whether it’s nail biting, eating too many sweets, or putting off tasks until the last minute, we all have habits we wish we could break. But how do you escape a behavior you know little about? In his book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg examines the structure of habit, its underlying causes, and the impact of habit on our careers and personal lives. The first part of “The Power of Habit” investigates what Duhigg calls the “habit loop.” This loop comprises the cue (the situation that leads to habitual behavior), the routine (the behavior itself), and the reward (the feeling of
company. Duhigg looks at organizations ranging from huge corporations like Target to the more intimate structure of NFL teams. If you’re not creating positive habits in your staff, you’re not doing your all as a leader. If you notice a way to replace a bad operational habit with a good one, you’ll improve productivity and employee happiness. Finally, in one of the most instructive sections in any book in recent memory, Duhigg details four steps to changing any habit. First, you pinpoint the routine. Then, you interrogate the reward you receive from that routine. After that, you isolate the situations that cue your behavior. Finally, you make a plan to change the behavior. Self-belief is a huge part of this process. As Duhigg says, “You have to actually believe in your capacity to change for habits to permanently change.”
satisfaction provided by the behavior). Breaking down this loop, Duhigg argues, is the key to altering behavior. If you don’t understand the “why” for an action, it becomes much harder to escape that action itself. “Once you break a habit into its components,” Duhigg writes, “you can fiddle with the gears.” From there, Duhigg zooms out to take a look at the habits of successful organizations. As a business owner, the habits you instill in your staff go a long way in determining the success of your
With the tools and examples Charles Duhigg details in “The Power
of Habit,” you’ll be able to take control of actions you thought were unbreakable. In both business and life, there’s hardly a more valuable asset.
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