Stevens Firm - August 2019

What Matters Most

THE StevensFirm, P.A. Family Law Center

Jenny Stevens Joins Board of Hub city Writers Project 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • www.SCFamilyLaw.com • (864) 598-9172 August 2019

This month we’re proud to announce that Managing Partner Jenny Stevens has joined the Board of the Hub City Writers Project (HCWP). Jenny is a lifelong lover of books and has enjoyed working on creative writing projects since she first learned to write, so joining the Board of our local independent bookstore was a dream come true for her. If you’re not from Spartanburg or if you’ve just never heard of the Hub City Writers Project, here’s a little bit of their history. It all began back in 1995, when a trio of Spartanburg writers began to talk about how they could help preserve a sense of place in the rapidly changing small town they all loved. They decided to model the Hub City Writers Project after the Depression-era Federal Writers Project, choosing the name “Hub City” as an ode to Spartanburg’s past as a railroad center, and also because it would challenge them to make their city a “hub” for the literary arts. In the years since, the organization has published more than 700 writers and 80 books, renovated two historic downtown buildings, and given away more than $30,000 in scholarships to emerging writers. The bookstore (one of Jenny’s favorite places to shop!) has sold over 180,000 books and has provided creative writing instruction to hundreds of writers in the Carolinas and beyond. HCWP also hosts a writers’ conference called Writing in Place each summer at nearby Wofford College, which Jenny has attended (and thoroughly enjoyed) the past two years. Over the years, HCWP has made a true name for itself on the national level and continues to serve its community in so many wonderful ways. Jenny looks forward to her current term of three years on the Board and invites everyone to check out HCWP’s website at HubCity.org and Facebook page for all upcoming events where you’re sure to find her as well.

–Ben Stevens

Reminder About Our Firm’s Communication Policy Our promise to you is that while we are working on your case, we 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 him much more productive and enables him to focus on getting your case 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 24–48 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, but please

be advised that emails are not typically checked more than twice per day. If you need something quickly, don’t email — call our office and speak with one of 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 long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety and proper credit is attributed to “The Stevens Firm, P.A. — Family Law Center (SCFamilyLaw.com).”

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Voices Against Violence Necessities Drive

ITEMS THAT ARE MOST NEEDED: For Women:

Associate Attorney Mackenzie Ruroede is a member of the Young Lawyers Division’s Voices Against Violence Necessities Drive committee this year and is asking for help from our colleagues, neighbors, and community to fill our drop-off location box with supplies for victims of domestic abuse. Our office will host this drop-off location Aug. 12 to Sept. 30 during our normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are located at 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302. Voices Against Violence (VAV) educates young lawyers and the public about the epidemic of domestic violence and encourages advocacy for domestic violence victims through legislative initiatives, pro bono service, and hands-on support to shelters and other programs providing aid to victims of domestic violence. Each fall, VAV has a necessities and toiletries drive, collecting donations to deliver to shelters throughout South Carolina.

For Children: Baby food Diapers and wipes Socks and underwear (new) Clothing Winter coats Shoes Books G-rated DVDs Stars and smiley stickers Teddy bears (new) Play-Doh Coloring books

Toiletries: Feminine products Facial tissues Deodorant Toothpaste and toothbrushes Shampoo and conditioner Antibacterial wipes Nail clippers Lotion Vaseline Soap Hair brushes Ethnic hair products Shower sponges

Underwear (new) Sports bras (new) Sweatpants or yoga pants Flip-flops / shoes Socks (new) Coats Writing journals Pens Books Bus passes Bath towels Twin-sized bedding Pillows and pillowcases Blankets

Crayons Blankets

Back-to-School Success How to Set Your Kids Up for a Great School Year Post-Divorce

We all know divorce can be hard on kids, no matter how smooth the separation. Confusion, discomfort, and sadness are all common feelings that can color their day-to-day lives, and embarrassment over the process might even temper their excitement about going back to school at the end of the month. Fortunately, you can do many things as a parent to make that back-to-school experience more fun than stressful. Here are a few smart steps to take. Split the Trips Back-to-school time brings with it the expectation of extra outings. If your kids aren’t old enough to drive, then it’s up to you and your ex- spouse to ferry them to the mall for new clothes; the office supply store for fresh pencils, pens, and other supplies; and the grocery store to load up on their favorite snacks and brown bag lunch ingredients. In the weeks leading up to that first school day, divide up those tasks (taking your custody arrangement into account) so that nothing is missed. Get Organized Next, work with your ex-spouse to make sure you have plans for getting your kids to and from school, whether that’s finding the designated bus stops near each of your homes, organizing separate car pool groups, or drawing up a pickup and drop-off schedule. Having these things figured out in advance will let your kids know what to expect, making the transition less stressful for everyone.

Be Gentle Even if the back-to-school process seems to have gone off without a hitch on your end, there’s no way of knowing how your kids are feeling once they arrive on campus. When they come home at the end of the day, don’t bombard them with questions. Instead, let them settle into their new routine and, hopefully, bring up the subject with you in their own time. If they don’t, try asking for concrete details about their day so they don’t feel like you’re prying at their feelings.

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Summertime Gazpacho Gazpacho, an Andalusian soup made of blended vegetables and traditionally served cold, is the perfect refresher on a warm summer day. • 2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes; cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks • 1 small cucumber; peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks • 1 red bell pepper; cored, seeded, and sliced into ribbons Ingredients

The Magic of Mediation How Mediation Can Benefit Your Divorce Case Although most marriage vows include the phrase “until death do us part,” statistics show that less than 50% of marriages in the U.S. will actually last that long. Sadly, divorce is more commonplace now than at any other time in history — both in South Carolina and across the nation. As a result, alternative forms of dispute resolution, which allow people to exert more control over the outcomes of their court cases, have grown in popularity. One of the most prevalent is mediation, and, because it’s now required by the South Carolina Family Court, it can be a great option for those who either don’t want to litigate in court or can’t afford to. How Does Family Court Mediation Work? Mediation sessions offer divorcing couples a way to civilly discuss the issues surrounding the end of their marriage, like child custody, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, alimony, and fee payments. This differs from court litigation, where terms are decided by a judge. Mediation sessions usually take place in a private office under the guidance of a professional mediator, and we recommend selecting either a certified Family Court mediator or a retired Family Court judge to set your session up for success. What Are the Advantages for Divorce Clients? The American Bar Association lists a plethora of benefits to mediation, including affordability, freedom to customize your settlement, quicker resolution, a less stressful atmosphere, and lower legal bills post-divorce — the latter due to the fact that people are more likely to follow a divorce order they’ve had a say in creating. We’ve seen many clients reap these rewards over the years. How Can an Attorney Help? Whether you’re ordered to participate in the mediation process or you choose to try it, an experienced South Carolina Family Court attorney is an essential partner. A lawyer can offer personalized representation to ensure you get everything you’re entitled to, and their knowledge can help guide your decisions. If you’re in search of a competent, experienced lawyer to partner with, don’t hesitate to call The Stevens Firm.

• 1 small Vidalia onion, peeled and cubed • 1/4 cup basil leaves • 1 clove garlic, peeled • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place a blender and medium mixing bowl on your workstation. 2. Divide the tomato chunks, cucumber pieces, and bell pepper slices evenly between blender and bowl. Place entire onion in blender. 3. Add basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to blender. Blend on low, gradually raising speed to high until smooth, about 2 minutes. 4. Add blender contents to bowl and mix until just broken up, about 10–20 seconds. 5. Let mixture sit in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Transfer to bowls and serve. Directions

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THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

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349 E. Main Street, Suite 200 Spartanburg, SC 29302

PAGE 1 Jenny Stevens Joins Hub City Writers Project Board PAGE 2 Voices Against Violence Necessities Drive Back-to-School Success PAGE 3 Summertime Gazpacho The Magic of Mediation PAGE 4

Not Your Average Vacation Lodgings

America’s Weirdest Airbnbs This Ain’t Motel 6!

When Airbnb was founded a little over a decade ago, the developers hoped to provide an alternative to traditional travel accommodations. Today, with annual revenue in the billions, the service is an industry unto itself. While most people use Airbnb to “live like a local” while traveling, you can find some truly wacky lodging options if you spend some time searching the platform. Here are just a few of the many contenders for the title of “Weirdest Airbnb in the U.S.” For ease of searching, the listings

here have the same titles as they do on Airbnb. Brand New Studio Earthship Taos, New Mexico

apartment fashioned out of an airplane hangar surely takes the cake. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a theme restaurant featuring eclectic aviation. Memorabilia lines the walls with a bar front and center, and the

Earthships, houses run by clean energy and featuring reused materials, are a fixture of the Taos area. This one, which looks almost like a crashing wave with a living space in its undertow, combines the rustic charm of truly getting away from it all with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and in-home laundry. It’s a truly unique living space surrounded by pristine nature and not far from the historic Taos Pueblo. ManCave Apartment/Airplane Hangar Geneva, Florida Airbnb super hosts Dan and Deborah have no shortage of quirky properties for rent — including yurts and treehouses — but their

bed is in a loft high above the ground. Dog Bark Park Inn B&B Cottonwood, Idaho

As you approach the Dog Bark Park Inn, you won’t have to guess if you’re in the right place. After all, how many buildings are shaped like beagles? When describing the space on Airbnb, the hosts make no bones about who this rental is aimed for. “Stay in a giant dog!” they say. In addition to being inside a massive wooden dog, you’ll find canine-themed games, books, and more. Talk about ruffing it.

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