Stevens Firm - October 2018

Navigating Life’s Transitions What Matters Most THE 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • (864) 598-9172 October 2018

Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

Facing Change Head-On and Coming Out Stronger

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it. –Ann Landers Last month, we moved our two oldest teenagers into their college dorms to start the next phase of their lives … and ours. We both experienced the excitement of lining up all the new supplies and gear they would each need for successful first semesters. We agonized right along with them over getting their class schedules “just right” and helped

them figure out how to juggle part-time jobs amongst all the chaos of orientation schedules and moving in. I made many promises not to cry (most of which I kept). Ben laughed at my emotional highs and lows while also handing me boxes of Kleenex. It was a busy few weeks, to say the least, but I can’t help but think back over the massive transition we faced and appreciate how well we seem to be surviving … and, dare I say, we seem to be growing from it all as well. Transition is hard; there’s no doubt about it. Ever since we married six years ago and blended our families, our life has been almost constant activity — recitals, doctor visits, orthodontist visits, sports games, band rehearsals, clothes shopping, traveling, holidays, etc., all while holding down busy full-time jobs as attorneys. Most people, when looking in from the outside, start conversations with us by exclaiming, “I don’t know how you do it!” Well, when you’re in it , it’s hard to imagine not doing it. You just jump in feet first and lead the pack. There are ups and downs, for sure, but at the end of the day, it’s your family and you’d do anything for them. And then the kids start growing up and moving on — and eventually moving out. This transition for them has been interesting to watch — they are learning how to fend for themselves, but I’d be lying if I said we don’t relish it when they “just stop by” for no reason at all. Our latest transition into our quieter, less scheduled-to-the-max home has had me thinking about all the transitions our clients are facing when they first seek out our help. Whether it’s an initial separation and eventual divorce or a custody case that’s starting “round two,” our clients often face immense changes coming at them very quickly. We are here to help guide them through that unfamiliar territory, and we try to incorporate things we’ve learned from our combined experiences, both as family court attorneys and from our real- life experiences. While change may be scary, we can help build your experience into one that leads to positive growth for you and your children. If we can ever be of service to you or your family during life’s more difficult transitions, we hope you’ll reach out to us at (864) 598-9172.

–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

Learn a New Language as a Family

Let Your Children Speak to the World

As the weather cools down, finding ways to spend quality time as a family can become challenging. It’s too cold to camp or barbecue, and money may be tight with the holidays coming up. So why not turn learning a new skill into a bonding experience this fall? You can do it inside, it’s free, and it will open doors around the world for the rest of your children’s lives. Why learn a new language? Speaking multiple languages creates opportunities for your child. Being bilingual makes you more qualified for a variety of exciting careers and can improve your competitiveness in the job market. Knowing a second language can also allow you to travel with greater ease and become more culturally well-rounded. There are some studies that claim learning languages is even good for your health. Research shows that our language acquisition skills peak in childhood or adolescence, so starting young is the best way to become fluent. If your child is in school, they probably already know classmates who speak another language. Which language should you learn? Did you know that 40 million Americans currently speak Spanish at home? The U.S. is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, and we border the largest, so learning this language is a great way for children to communicate with more people in their community, and they’ll be more hirable as adults. Bonus: It’s commonly considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Who Can You Marry? A quick Google search regarding marriage laws will yield a plethora of strange questions asked by tech users all around the world. People have pondered the legality of marrying their family members, their pets, and even inanimate objects, like their beds. The wide range of these questions demonstrates the work that goes into creating marriage laws and the necessity for their fluidity over time. Here are four of the craziest marriage laws still in existence in the United States today. You Can Marry Some Family Members Several taboos exist regarding marriage between family members in the U.S., most of which stem from fear of genetic issues in potential offspring. In other cultures, marriage between family members is encouraged. A famous example was when Queen Victoria married her first cousin in order to maintain a royal lineage. In the U.S., marriage between first There is this pervasive idea that relationships with in-laws have to be fraught with drama, fights, and passive aggressiveness. This idea is so well-entrenched in the American psyche that Wichita, Kansas, decided to take action. In this state, being mean to one’s mother-in-law can be grounds for divorce. You Can’t Marry the Same Person 4 Times In the state of Kentucky, you can get married and divorced as many times as you want; however, there is a law that forbids you from marrying the cousins is illegal in about half of the states. Be Nice to Your Mother-In-Law

Mandarin is the most-spoken language on the planet, and China’s growth as an economic powerhouse has made this language even more useful around the world. German, Arabic, and Japanese speakers are also highly sought-after in the job market. Of course, you can always let your wanderlust or passions decide for you! Is your child obsessed with K-Pop? Have them learn Korean. Want to take them to Paris someday? Enroll in French classes. The languages of the world are at your fingertips. Learning a new skill has never been easier! While there’s no substitute for a full-time class or moving to another country, there are countless ways to teach yourself a new language right at home, usually for free. YouTube tutorials, podcasts, and audiobooks let you rewind and listen to the lessons as many times as needed to master pronunciations. Can’t tear your child away from their cellphone? Download Duolingo, rated by PCMag. com as the best free language-learning app of 2018.

same person four times. So, if after the third time you get married, you aren’t sure the relationship is going to work out, make sure you are 100 percent positive you don’t want to try again before signing the papers. You Can Get Married in Montana, and You Don’t Even Have to Be There Several states with a large military presence allow proxy marriages, meaning that one party doesn’t have to be present for the wedding. In the state of Montana, as long as one of the marriage partners is a Montana resident, neither of them has to be in the state to be legally married there.


Homemade Marshmallows As we enter the height of s’mores season, consider upgrading those store-bought marshmallows to homemade ones. For a colorful treat, you can easily add food coloring to this recipe.


• 3 packages unflavored gelatin • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar • 1 cup light corn syrup

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract • Powdered sugar, to coat


Divorce in the #MeToo Era What to Do if Your Spouse Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct

1. In a mixing bowl, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Let sit while you make the syrup. 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water until the sugar dissolves. 3. Raise heat to high and bring syrup up to 240 F, using a candy thermometer to check for temperature. 4. With an electric whisk on low speed, slowly whisk syrup into gelatin mixture. Switch speed to high and whip for 15 minutes, until very thick. Fold in vanilla after whipping. 5. Dust a nonmetal baking dish with powdered sugar and spoon mixture into dish. Smooth mixture, top with more powdered sugar, and let stand uncovered overnight. 6. Cut into squares, decorate, and serve. take a break

In 2006, civil rights activist Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement to raise awareness regarding the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society. Then in 2017, the hashtag #metoo spread across all social media platforms following allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In the months since, a slew of claims have come into the spotlight. While much of the societal focus during this movement has been on the victims’ difficult but courageous decisions to come forward and share their harrowing stories, a particularly intriguing aspect of this movement for divorce lawyers is exploring the steps a client should take when his or her spouse has committed sexual misconduct against another person. Spouses of alleged perpetrators often consider divorce following sexual harassment or assault allegations that come about during their marriage, but many of them don’t realize that time is of the essence in these types of cases. If it is likely that the allegations against one’s spouse will be proven true, our lawyers here at The Stevens Firm encourage clients to reach out and ask for legal advice as soon as possible. Filing quickly will lessen the possibility that the spouses of perpetrators — the ones who had no prior knowledge of the misconduct — will experience great financial loss as a result of their partner’s criminality. As victims of sexual misconduct continue to speak out regarding their own experiences, the pervasive and rampant societal tendency to trade transparency in exchange for power will dissipate. And as that continues, our lawyers are here to help should you find yourself in a situation where a spouse has been accused of sexual misconduct. If you want more information, please call us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.

3 (864) 598-9172

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center


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

PAGE 1 Navigating Life’s Transitions PAGE 2 Learn a New Language as a Family Which States Have the Craziest Marriage Laws? PAGE 3 Homemade Marshmallows Divorce in the #MeToo Era PAGE 4 3 of the Weirdest Cryptids in Pseudoscientific History

The Monsters Some Believe Are Real

3 of the Weirdest Cryptids in Pseudoscientific History

There are people who would have you believe that monsters live among us all year long. These individuals, referred to as cryptozoologists (or just “wishful thinkers” by their skeptics), believe a hidden animal kingdom exists just beyond the edge of mainstream biological science. Here are three of the weirdest, almost-certainly imaginary “cryptids” to ever capture the human imagination. The Jersey Devil According to legend, the 1.1 million-acre Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey are home to more than just birds and deer. The story goes that when one Jane Leeds gave birth to her 13th child, she was dismayed to add yet another kid to her responsibilities. She cried out, “Oh, let this one be the devil!” Shortly after the child was born, the boy was transmogrified into a twisted creature with the malformed head of a goat, leathery wings, and a thrashing, forked tail. After slicing the midwife with its ragged claws, the beast flew up the chimney and fled into the trees. Hundreds of years later, the beast is still said to creep the backwoods on its cloven hooves, glowering from the blackness with shining, red eyes. The Bunyip When European settlers began edging into the territory of Aboriginal Australians, they heard whispered, frightened

tales of a man-eating “water spirit” that lived in the lakes and rivers of the area. Descriptions of the creature varied wildly. The monster was alternately described as an enormous starfish, an alligator-

like creature with the head of an emu, or a massive bulldog-faced beast. But accounts held one thing in common: The monster claimed the lives of any who dared camp near its watery domain. The Loveland Frog One night, near Loveland, Ohio, a man reportedly beheld a trio of bipedal frog-people slapping their webbed feet along the side of the road. If that wasn’t enough, one even had a magic wand, which shot sparks as the man ran off. Apparently, not all mythical beasts are bloodthirsty monsters; some are a little more Kermit than Cthulhu.


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