Stevens Firm - September 2018

What Matters Most

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

Committed to Excellence Our Promise to Our Clients 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • (864) 598-9172 September 2018

Believe it or not, we know what most of you think of lawyers. We know just the word “lawyer” leaves a bad taste in most people’s mouths, and we know that when most people make an appointment to meet with us for the first time, they are probably either scared to death about what’s coming next, upset that they are they are in a position where they have to hire one of us, or both. And that’s why we practice law a little differently than most places you’ll find around our state. We believe the following applies to every client and case we handle: Clients are entitled to quality, professional legal services. Clients are entitled to prompt communication about all aspects of their cases. Clients are entitled to have their attorney- client privileges upheld at all times. We will work toward amicable, cost- effective solutions outside of the courtroom whenever possible. Clients are entitled to strong, effective advocacy in the courtroom when litigation is necessary. Our attorneys will always be focused on helping our client reach their economic and emotional goals in the case to the best of our abilities. • • • • • •

political figures, small-business owners, professionals, and homemakers. We work to assist our clients with both general and complex family law matters arising from their personal relationships, both here in upstate South Carolina and abroad. Our clients come to us at emotional and often traumatic times in their lives. We work patiently and closely with them on their individual concerns to achieve a successful resolution to each case. At The Stevens Firm, we believe an important part of our job is to reduce our clients’ fears and anxieties by thoroughly explaining their rights, their options, and the financial and emotional implications family court litigation might have on them and their children. Our attorneys and support staff offer a wealth of experience in all aspects of family law. Our attorneys have a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds, and this unique

blend of experience, talent, and energy enables us to best meet our clients’ legal challenges. We use every available resource and skill to bring about the best possible result in each case. Our attorneys regularly participate in and teach continuing legal education programs. With the assistance of the latest technology, we keep abreast of the most current developments in family law and stand ready to help our Spartanburg neighbors with their divorce and child custody needs. If you’re in need of our services, or know someone who is, we are here for you. Feel free to give us a call at (864) 598-9172 or visit our website to schedule your consultation.

–Ben and Jenny Stevens

We handle cases involving local, national, and global industry leaders, business executives,

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

That’ll Do, Pig

Oinkers That Saved Their Owners’ Bacon

More and more Americans are keeping pigs as pets than ever before. With their keen intelligence, laid-back amiability, goofy snorts, and, of course, their stubby little legs, it’s no surprise that people take to these plump, fuzzy animals. And here’s an extra bonus: Apparently, they also save lives! Take the aptly-named Lucky , for example. When Illinois resident Ina Farler woke up to the frantic porcine screams of her best friend, she knew something was up. “He would jump down, run to the door, and then jump back on the bed and hit me really hard,” she told Chicago 5 News. “When I sat up, I realized the room was really smoky.” Her house was ablaze, and her room was quickly turning into an oven. But thanks to Lucky, she was able to grab her two grandchildren, escape from the house, and call the fire department to stifle the blaze before it took down the entire property. Lucky isn’t the only hog to have saved the day. Jo Ann and Jack Altsman adopted Lulu the pot-bellied pig after baby-sitting her for their daughter. Lulu grew to be great pals with Bear, the family’s American Eskimo dog. When Jo Ann suffered a heart attack while her husband was away on a fishing trip and no one else was around, Bear and Lulu teamed up to rescue their beloved owner. Sensing something was up, Bear barked furiously to get the attention of Lulu , who was out in the yard. Though she’d never come into the house from the yard before, she crammed her bulk through the much-too-small doggie door. In the process, she scraped her belly badly, drawing blood, You are probably familiar with the old saying, “A ship is only as good as its sails.” Cliché as it may be, this idiom is true regardless of the ship you are steering. Our firm’s “sail” is senior associate Jonathan Lounsberry. Jonathan has been working with The Stevens Firm for a little over three years, where he handles both simple and complex family law cases, including divorce, child custody, finance, property division, and international family law issues. “My favorite part of working for this firm is that I am able to work more challenging cases; those are the ones I am most passionate about. They are like jigsaw puzzles,” Jonathan explains. He thrives on navigating the tricky waters associated with international cases; in those instances, he has to consider multiple jurisdictions, laws, and civil codes. For Jonathan, when it comes to law, the more convoluted, the better. He initially made the decision to move to Spartanburg with his wife and two children because his wife is from the area. Before the move, they had lived in both Columbia and Charleston, where Jonathan received his BA in philosophy and political science from the University of South Carolina and his JD from Charleston School of Law. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar, and our very own Spartanburg County Bar Association. When he is not practicing law, Jonathan enjoys spending time in Jonathan Lounsberry Loves the Tough Cases

but she pressed on in order to check on Jo Ann. Realizing that something was seriously wrong, she slammed back through the doggie door and scrambled out into the road, where she lay down. Lulu eventually convinced one conscientious motorist to slow down and see what the commotion was about. He found Jo Ann unconscious in her home and quickly dialed 911. Though Lulu wasn’t allowed in the ambulance, her owner was rescued and recovered after an intense open- heart surgery. And, of course, Lulu got patched up too!

The Stevens Firm’s Puzzle Solver

nature with his wife while they try to keep up with their son and daughter. They love exploring the mountains, fishing, and just being outdoors in general. The enthusiasm Jonathan brings to his family relationships is the same enthusiasm he brings when working with clients. Our team is so grateful he decided to join us, and if the next three years are anything like the last, we look forward to continuing to admire his work ethic, his curious mind, and his vast knowledge base.


Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese

Want to take your grilled cheese game to the next level? This recipe calls for cheese both inside and outside the sandwich, adding a crispy crunch to the grilled cheese experience. It’s a quick, delicious weekday dinner option the whole family will love.

How to Make a Seemingly Impossible Task Easier Other Professionals Who Can Help With the Divorce Process Even though divorce rates have reached an all-time high within the last decade, and there can be many valid reasons for dissolving marriage contracts, the choice to separate from a partner still invites a lot of unwanted societal negativity and scrutiny for those involved. The pressure associated with this scrutiny often makes those seeking a separation or divorce hesitant to reach out and ask for help from professionals who can make the process easier for them. This is unfortunate because no relationship can be truly understood by anyone other than those engaged in it. At The Stevens Firm, we understand that the decision to separate is painful enough, so we refer our clients to the professionals in our community who will help make each stage of the process a little less complicated. The professionals most commonly used in family court are private investigators, who can be helpful in obtaining information about a spouse’s misconduct as well as issues related to child custody and visitation cases. Another professional we recommend seeking out is a mental health counselor. If you or your children want to talk to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, these experts can help with conflict resolution, domestic violence, and anger management. Additionally, for issues related to finance, we encourage you to seek help from an appraiser or an accountant. Both types of professionals can help you determine monetary value regarding personal possessions, real estate, income, or retirement accounts. While we want both our current and potential clients to reach out to our lawyers for assistance with the separation or divorce process, we also want them to feel comfortable asking questions about additional resources to make a difficult transition as easy as possible. If you are interested in consulting with any of these other professionals, give us a call at (864) 598-9172. Our firm will be glad to refer you to a qualified individual or company we trust.


• 8 ounces ham, thinly sliced • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard • 1/4 cup apricot preserves

• 8 slices of bread (Pullman works best) • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)

1. Butter each slice of bread on the outsides and sprinkle with Parmesan. 2. Layer ham and cheese evenly on top of 4 slices of bread. 3. Spread apricot preserves and mustard across the other 4 slices. Press sandwiches together. 4. In a cast-iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium heat, grill sandwiches until golden, about 3 minutes per side. 5. Cut in half and serve. Directions take a break

3 (864) 598-9172

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center


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

How We Handle Your Case PAGE 2 Pigs to the Rescue Meet Jonathan, Our Awesome Attorney PAGE 3 Inside-Out Grilled Ham and Cheese Call These Professionals When Filing for Divorce PAGE 4 International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, matey! Wednesday, Sept. 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Brush up on your pirate vocabulary, grab your eye patch, get your puffy shirt dry cleaned, and bring a little seafaring fun to your office or classroom. The History of These Swashbuckling Shenanigans The holiday began as an inside joke between pals John Baur and Mark Summers in 1995. For reasons not even understood by themselves, they began speaking like pirates while playing racquetball, saying things to each other like, “That be a fine cannonade” (“Nice shot, dude”) and “Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm” (“But watch this”). They decided Talk Like a Pirate Day needed to become official, so they chose Sept. 19, which was Summers’ wife’s birthday (and the only date he could remember besides Christmas and the Super Bowl). In 2002, they pitched the idea to humor columnist Dave Barry, who promoted it in his syndicated column, and the concept quickly spread internationally. Did Pirates Really Talk Like That? The “pirate-speak” popularized in movies and Disney attractions probably sounds nothing like real pirates did in centuries past. Today’s swashbuckling phrases delivered in a strong Southwest England accent can be traced back to Robert Newton’s 1950 portrayal of Long John Silver Yo Ho Ho, Landlubbers!

in the movie “Treasure Island.” Historically, English-speaking pirates probably sounded more like Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day

Unfortunately, the pirates of the Golden Age didn’t leave behind any YouTube videos to confirm this. Learn the Lingo, Landlubber

Participating in Talk Like a Pirate Day is easy — you just need to know a few key phrases. “Ahoy, matey” means “Hello, friend!” “Blimey, that son of a biscuit-eater hornswaggled me out of me doubloons” means

“Darn it, that jerk cheated me out of my money!” “Shiver me timbers, that old salt is three sheets to the wind” means “Wow, that old sailor has had too much beer.” And if a pirate (or your boss) says, “Swab the deck, ye bilge rat, or it’s Davy Jones’ locker for ye!” start mopping the floor immediately.


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