Stevens Firm - January 2020

What Matters Most

THE StevensFirm, P.A. Family Law Center

349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • (864) 598-9172 January 2020

Ringing in 2020 at The Stevens Firm! It’s hard to believe a new year is upon us already. 2019 seemed to fly by at the speed of light. Happy 2020 to you! We saw lots of “End of the Decade” and “A New Decade Begins” posts and articles as December came to a close, but we had to chuckle a bit since the “new decade” doesn’t really begin until Jan. 1, 2021, so we’re going to hold off on our “new decade” goals and celebrations just a bit.

Our Associate, Mackenzie Ruroede, has also set a goal for herself this year. Mackenzie is a reader-for-pleasure (just like Jenny!) and has set a fun reading goal for herself this year. She says, “My goal for 2020 is to complete the M. Judson Booksellers’ Reading Challenge. M. Judson Booksellers is a bookstore in downtown Greenville, and each year they challenge readers to complete 12 unique books. This year, the challenge includes an adult classic you have never read,

a book from a local author, a book from the year you graduated high school, and many more categories. I enjoy reading in my downtime, and I look forward to guiding my reading selections based on this year’s challenge categories.” We are excited to follow along with Mackenzie’s choices this year and may ask her to share some of her monthly book reviews in our newsletter as she completes her reading challenge list. Do you have any books you might want to suggest for her reading challenge? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have lots to celebrate or that we’ve held back on setting new goals for ourselves both professionally and personally. Our Senior Associate, Jonathan Lounsberry, has a goal we’re still in awe about — he’s set a personal goal

to run in the NYC Marathon (maybe even this year!) as a tribute to his mother’s life and her battle with pancreatic cancer. As you may know, Jonathan lost his mother just before Christmas in 2018, and he says, “I started running in October 2019 as a way to deal with the loss. So far, I have run in a couple of races, with the longest being a 10-mile race on New Year’s Day.” (The Hair of the Dog race in Spartanburg.) We think it’s a wonderful way to honor his mother’s memory, and we’re excited to see where his running will take him next. FYI, if you ever see us running anywhere, it’s probably because something really scary is chasing us, so please send help!

We have set our goals, too. As Ben enters his 25th year of practicing law, he says, “Professionally, I want to show that even after 25 years, I can still learn new ways to best represent my clients. Old dogs can learn new tricks! And personally, I want to help our next two children transition into college ( Yes, we will have four children in college — at the same time! ) and then, I want to learn how to be a (semi) empty nester.” These are all such great goals for 2020. In one way, 2019 was a year that took a lot to just survive. While professionally, our firm had one of its best years ever, I feel like I missed a lot at home just trying to hold everything and everyone together due to the personal losses we suffered this past year. In 2020, I plan to be more present in all aspects of my life: present for my family and present at work as we focus on opening a location in Greenville, as we help our Associates build on their professional skillsets, and as we enhance our own practice to continue representing our clients with the best we have to offer.

–Jenny & 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 (”

1 (864) 598-9172

Screen-Time Strategies

How to Set a Family Media Use Plan

With 24/7 media exposure from TVs, computers, and smartphones, it feels like life is dominated by screens. Consider implementing a media use plan for your family so they don’t miss out on the real world. Set a Curfew Limiting the time your children spend staring at a screen is good for their health. Try to keep screen-time usage to under two hours per day. Implement a rule for no screens at mealtimes, and keep all screens out of bedrooms at night. Keep track of the devices by having a communal charging dock in a shared area where you can make sure everything is plugged in for the night. Have a Chat Don’t shy away from warning your kids about what exists in the digital world. Explain to them that certain content isn’t age-appropriate, and teach them what movie and TV ratings mean. Remind them to be careful about what they put on the internet because anything they upload never really goes away. Teach them to be smart with their decisions. Connect with them on social media if it helps you keep an eye on things. Construct a ‘Media Diet’ Take an active role in what your children watch by co-viewing programs with them. You’ll have a better sense of what they’re seeing and can point them toward the programming that’s right for them. Look for educational

media choices that teach good values. There are a lot of great educational opportunities on the internet, but there’s also a lot of room for negative exposure. If this is a concern, keep the family computer in a public part of your home so you can see what they’re accessing online. It’s important to educate your children about proper media health, but it’s even more important to encourage your kids to be healthy in other ways. Beyond the tips mentioned above, encourage them to play outdoors and read physical books so they can participate more actively in the real world.

Looking Ahead to a Better 2020

3 Reasons to Make New Year’s Resolutions With Your Kids We’ve all read the depressing statistics on New Year’s resolutions. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of them are doomed to fail. Still, there can be a lot of benefits to sitting down and laying out your dreams, goals, and plans for the year — and if you can turn the process into a bonding moment with your kids post-divorce, even better!

Here are three reasons why drafting New Year’s resolutions with your kids is a good idea, particularly after a tough divorce: It Will Help Them Feel Heard Odds are, if you’ve just separated or divorced from a partner, your kids are feeling frustrated, confused, and at worst, unheard. Giving them a safe space to air their hopes for the future could encourage them to share what they’re thinking and worrying about. You’ll Get a Chance to Tackle Tough Topics Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, you’re bound to learn something about their worries and fears by listening to their resolutions. For example, a teenager might say, “I resolve not to choose sides,” referencing fears that they’ll be torn between their two parents while a toddler might say, “I don’t want to forget Mommy/Daddy,” referencing a partner without primary custody. Once you’ve deduced these worries, you can have a conversation to address them.

You’ll Feel Like a Team Again When you sit down to make resolutions, there are a few different strategies you can take: You and your children can make separate resolutions, but you can also make joint resolutions for things you’d like to accomplish as a family in 2020. The latter can be a great bonding activity, bringing you closer as a family and team as you work toward shared goals and a bright future. If you’re struggling with a divorce or custody battle and could use the guidance of an experienced family law attorney, we’re here to help. Call The Stevens Firm today at 864-598-9172 or visit to schedule a consultation and set yourself up for a better year in 2020.


Simple Pancakes From Scratch Everyone should be able to make pancakes without a boxed mix. This recipe is no-frills fantastic and can probably be made without so much as a trip to the grocery store.

Your Restraining Order Rundown


• 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tbsp sugar, optional

• 2 eggs • 1 3/4 cups milk • Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet

A Look at South Carolina’s Restraining Order Options


If you’ve been the victim of assault, rape, threats of harm, stalking, or harassment in South Carolina, please know the law is on your side. In any of these horrible situations, one of the first steps toward reclaiming your safety and peace of mind is filing a restraining order against the person who hurt you — and we’re here to help. Filing a restraining order can be scary because, in order to do it, you need to retain a lawyer or make a trip to see the Family Court Clerk. There’s no filing fee, but you’ll still need to go through a hearing with a judge to prove your case. Before you get to that point, though, you have to choose which type of restraining order you’d like to file. To help you with that, we’ve put together a rundown on the types of restraining orders South Carolina offers. 1. Order of Protection This kind of order protects you against abuse or threats of abuse from a family or household member. In other words, it will keep you safe from a spouse, ex-spouse, partner whom you have children with, or person of the opposite sex you live with or have lived with. There are two types of Orders of Protection: Temporary and Final orders. The former is best if you’re in immediate danger because it guarantees you’ll get a hearing within 24 hours of filing your petition. The latter requires a full court hearing with your abuser present. Final orders last between six months and one year. 2. Restraining Order Against Stalking or Harassment As its name implies, this order protects you against stalking and harassment from anyone, not just a spouse or partner. The order will keep that person away from your home, office, or school, and forbid them from threatening, following, or communicating with you or your family. Again, there are two categories within this order: Emergency Temporary and Final Extended orders. Emergency Temporary orders go into effect quickly while Final Extended orders take longer to obtain but last a full year. Regardless of which type of order you need to file, one of the best moves you can make for your success is hiring an experienced, empathetic family law attorney to handle your case. If you’re in this difficult position, our team can help put your mind at ease. Call us today at 864-598-9172.

1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.

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3 (864) 598-9172

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center


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

PAGE 1 Ringing in 2020 at The Stevens Firm! PAGE 2 Tips to Establish a Family Media Use Plan How to Bond With Your Kids Over New Year’s Resolutions PAGE 3 Simple Pancakes From Scratch Your Restraining Order Rundown PAGE 4

Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer

Ctrl, Alt, Delete Your Clutter

Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order. Start by Dusting Organize Your Files Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need. Back Up Your Computer

Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer.

Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left. Clean Up Space Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t

used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.


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