Stevens Firm - March 2019

What Matters Most

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • 864-598-9172 March 2019

New ‘Kids’ on the Block

We have some news. It’s big news. We adopted two more “children” last month. Yep, this Brady Bunch just got a little bigger. Meet Gaylord and Hoover. If you know us well, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought you guys always said you’re only subtracting from here on out!” And you’re right. We have always said that. We have six children altogether, plus we already have two dogs, whom we affectionately call our grumpy old men. So whatever possessed us to adopt two cats at this point in life? As you may know, in January, we lost Ben’s mom, Jean Dickinson, to a courageous, decade-long battle with cancer. The progression of her illness at the end was sudden and took us all off guard. Her death, while peaceful, left us all grieving in different ways and with that heavy feeling that she was gone far too soon. Jean’s cat (aka best friend), Gaylord (yes, just like “Meet the Fockers”), was also left behind. It was only natural that he would come live with us — much to our dogs’ surprise and amazement. The end of January was an adventure as we spent equal time nursing our broken hearts while also attempting to convince our three furry friends that we really could coexist without too much drama. Just as the hissing and swiping began to lighten up a bit, Ben had the brilliant idea of giving Gaylord a feline friend to keep him company when the dogs

wouldn’t play with him. And the search began for our most recent adoptee.

Ben found a rescue organization with lots of cats to choose from and shared the link with Jenny to find a few potentials. Jenny, never one to ignore her first impressions, saw Hoover’s picture and zeroed right in to find out more about him. The very first detail that jumped off the page was his birthday: April 1. Just like Jean! That was it. Decision made. The adoption application was submitted, approvals were granted, and plans were made to pick him up. After just a few days together, we’re pleased to say the cats are getting along wonderfully and enjoy chasing each other through the house playing hide-and-seek. The dogs, however, are still not quite sure what to think of the cats (or us, for that matter). We’re hoping that by the time this article goes to print, things will have calmed down a bit in that department, but for now, we’re dealing with two dogs who want to be friendly with a new kitten who doesn’t quite get their friendly overtures just yet. Pray for us!



One of the causes near and dear to Jean’s heart was helping children and families. If you’d like to help us honor her memory, we have asked that donations be made to the AAML Foundation in her memory (

–Ben and Jenny 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

Are You Ready for Fido?

How to Decide if Your Family Can Care for a Pet

While we don’t know exactly why humans keep pets, one fact is certain: Millions of people love them. In fact, nearly 70 percent of households in the U.S. have a pet. But no matter what you see on your favorite dog Instagram accounts, keeping a pet isn’t endless playtime. Ask yourself the following questions before buying or adopting a furry companion. Do you know what you’re getting into?

For example, dogs are one of the most high-maintenance and expensive animals to own, but they tend to be more involved in family life than a cat or a hamster. That said, your home’s size and location may make it better suited for a smaller pet, as many larger animals require more square footage and plenty of outdoor space. Is your family ready?

Every family is different, and it’s important to have an honest discussion about the implications of owning a pet. If you have kids, consider how much they will be able to contribute to such a responsibility. Another factor to consider is how much free time you have to spend with your pet; some animals require more attention than others. To avoid major conflict down the road, discuss care and responsibility plans as a family before welcoming an animal into your home.

Owning a pet can change your lifestyle. To start, you will have to consider the animal’s well-being when hosting events or taking vacations. You will also have to make room in your budget for pet-related expenses. Additionally, some animals can live for upward of two decades. Discuss how responsibilities will change as a pet ages and what your future will look like before making the commitment. Does an animal fit your lifestyle?

Keeping a pet can be a source of joy for your family, but it can also be a source of stress. Before making any major choice, talk to your family members and

When choosing a pet for your family, gather research from animal experts and other pet owners. Calculate the cost of owning a pet, and evaluate how that animal will fit into your lifestyle.

consider what owning a pet would mean for all of you.

A Different Kind of Spring-Cleaning

Put cards in your name. If you had a joint banking account with your spouse, be sure you establish a separate account with separate cards. You might even consider using a separate bank entirely. Additionally, credit cards can sometimes require some time to obtain, so be sure you are applying before you absolutely need to. Put your legal team together.

Spring is right around the corner, and for the vast majority of the population (particularly those who are still thawing from the polar vortex), warmer temperatures couldn’t come soon enough. But once the sunshine starts to cascade through your windows, you start fighting with the uncontrollable urge to banish all the winter dust and gloom from your house. This urge leads to the inevitable but annual process of spring- cleaning. Whether you actually decide to scrub behind the oven or just delete some unneeded pictures from your hard drive, there is satisfaction to be gained from any form of spring-cleaning. Interestingly, the urge to cleanse and organize one’s home coincides with higher rates of divorce throughout the country. In fact, according to research conducted by the University of Washington in 2016, the number of filings for divorce reaches an annual high in the month of March. If you and your partner are contemplating a divorce in 2019, you should consider using your springtime energy to get yourself financially prepared. Here are some helpful tips to get you started. Check your credit. During your marriage, you may not have been paying special attention to your individual credit situation. Once you’re single, however, good credit will be one of the most critical aspects of your financial well- being. Without credit, it can be nearly impossible to obtain loans for any purpose, so be sure to request a credit report sooner rather than later.

With a great divorce team at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about who to call when the time comes. Divorce, custody, alimony, child support, and other matters of family law can seem like desperate struggles. It is no secret that the field of family and divorce law can be emotional. At The Stevens Law Firm, we cater to the needs of each client and treat every situation with the respect and attention our clients deserve. If you have any questions, give us a call today!


Everything Popcorn

Everything is the best bagel flavor. This is not a matter of debate. Sprinkle the seasoning on popcorn for a delicious snack that will have people asking, “What does this remind me of?”


• 3/4 cup popcorn kernels • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

• 2 teaspoons granulated onion • 1/3 cup canola oil • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Spartanburg Locals


1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.

Take a short trip over to Greenville to join Hispanic Alliance, PASOs, Safe Harbor, and Wren for an evening celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women impacting the great state of South Carolina. You’ll be supporting a locally-owned restaurant by purchasing authentic Cuban food and drinks while celebrating women in the community. In addition to the delicious meal, you’ll get the opportunity to dance to some amazing live music at 8 p.m. Delicious Reads When: Sunday, March 17; 2–5 p.m. Where: AC Hotel by Marriott Spartanburg Admission: $45–$50 (tickets available on Please join Hub City Writers Project for an afternoon of lively conversation about books with 20 extraordinary authors, all while enjoying delectable desserts and libations at the new Marriott AC hotel in downtown Spartanburg. Guests will have a unique opportunity to chat about all things literary with writers Soniah Kamal, Joseph Kelly, Patrice Gopo, Caleb Johnson, and others in a relaxed, elegant setting. Get your tickets early so that you don’t miss out on this great opportunity! Cocktails and Cuisine Class When: Friday, March 22; 6–8 p.m. Where: Monarch Café and Fresh Food Store Admission: $35–$60 (tickets available on Organized by The Butterfly Foundation, a nonprofit community development organization that provides assistance with housing, job readiness, and training, their subsidiary, Monarch Café and Fresh Food Store, is hosting a fun-filled evening of learning how to cook authentic Indian cuisine. While you prepare your entrée for this three-course meal, the café will prepare the appetizer, sides, dessert, and signature beverage. Space is limited, so reserve your space as soon as possible! What’s Going On This Month?

take a break

3 864-598-9172

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center


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

PAGE 1 New ‘Kids’ on the Block PAGE 2 Should You Get a Pet? A Different Kind of Spring-Cleaning PAGE 3 Everything Popcorn What to Do in Spartanburg This Month PAGE 4 Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Spirits

4 Rainy Day Activities Enjoy Yourself! As the weather warms up, the urge to get out of the house becomes stronger. However, any plans you might have can be abruptly canceled due to rain. If you find yourself stuck inside for the day, here are a few activities to keep you occupied. Get Bakin’ A wet and chilly day is an excellent opportunity to warm yourself up with some baked goods. Bake your favorite snickerdoodle cookies or fudge brownies, and pour yourself a mug full of hot chocolate or cider to get through the stormy day. Read a Book If you have a bookshelf full of novels you’ve not cracked open, a rainy day is the perfect time to jump in. Settle down on the sofa with a cuddly blanket and enjoy some uninterrupted reading. The rain smattering against your windows creates the perfect background noise to delve into the pages of a new adventure. Create Your Own Film Festival Having a movie or TV series marathon is another great way to pass the time. You can watch some of the classics, like “Forrest Gump” or “Singing in the Rain,” fill the day with “The Lord of the Rings” series, or start a new

Netflix show. If you want to involve your kids in the binge-watching, you can let them pick out one of their favorite movies too. Piece Together a Puzzle A rainy day is a great opportunity to pull out a puzzle. You can also grab your friends or family members and make the puzzle a team activity. With the whole day ahead of you, you’ll have several hours to devote to one of your favorite hobbies. Don’t let the rain keep you down! Instead, take advantage of the weather and enjoy a cozy day at home.


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