Stevens Firm - February 2020

What Matters Most

THE StevensFirm, P.A. Family Law Center

349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • www.SCFamilyLaw.com • (864) 598-9172 February 2020

The Stevens Firm Partners Take NASA by Storm

Okay, so maybe the title is a bit dramatic, and maybe the real story is that NASA rendered the partners of The Stevens Firm almost speechless during a recent visit — a real feat when you’re talking about two lawyers! As many of you know, Ben Stevens is a vice president in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.AAML.org). The most recent Executive Committee meeting of the AAML was held in Houston, Texas, which is also home to NASA. The meeting included a special, behind-the-scenes tour of NASA for the executive committee members and their guests. Knowing this meeting would include the tour, we decided to allow our two high school seniors, Tristan and Elizabeth, to tag along. I mean, how often do you get a behind- the-scenes tour of NASA? We couldn’t let this opportunity pass them by in good conscience. It was all we imagined it would be and so much more. We got to see the Saturn V rocket up close and stand next to its giant boosters, which really put a great deal into perspective for each of us. We toured the restored Mission Control room where those who oversaw the Apollo 11 moon landing were stationed during those intense days in the summer of 1969. If you’ve ever wanted to literally walk into a time capsule, sign up for that tour! We also got to walk through the astronaut training facility where NASA has modules and mock-ups that mimic what life is like on the

International Space Station in order to train astronauts how to live and work aboard the Space Station, but also so NASA engineers and scientists can study and create new technologies to meet the goals of the space missions. We even got to see some of the robots that are replicas of the ones currently working in space. They have “fingers” that are so precise in the work they do that they can turn a single page in a book without tearing it. Pretty impressive stuff! We finished out the day with a lecture from a former astronaut and then a dinner with our AAML friends and guests in the Spaceship Gallery. Our family got to eat dinner right next to a space capsule and then, while exploring the museum nearby, we got to touch a real moon rock! It was such a fun day of exploring and learning, and we highly recommend it if you’re ever traveling in the Houston area. Be sure to allow yourself the whole day to take it all in and don’t forget the kids! What are your favorite places to travel? We hope you’ll share some of your stories with us about your favorite travel experiences the next time you see or talk with us.

–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 (SCFamilyLaw.com).”

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Science Wants You to Stop and Smell the Roses

The Benefits of Spending Time Outside

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk- reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University

of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they

become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

No Partner, No Problems

Three Platonic Ways to Celebrate Love on Valentine’s Day If you’ve recently been through a divorce or are in the process of

separating, Valentine’s Day can be one of the toughest holidays of the year. However, instead of doing your best to avoid all signs of love this Feb. 14, we suggest you try the opposite: Celebrate it! You don’t need to have a partner to celebrate love. Not all love is romantic, and in fact, some of the strongest bonds of love are platonic ones. To cheer yourself up this Valentine’s Day, try celebrating love in one of these three ways. Spend the Day With Your Family Odds are, even if your marriage has dissolved, you still have family members you adore and who would be happy to spend the day with you. If you have children, plan a slate of activities with them, or grab lunch with one of your parents or siblings. Even your pets count as family! You’ll certainly feel the love if you take a few hours to hang with your pooch at the dog park, or let your cat supervise you as you build a cat tree. Treat Another Single Friend If you have a friend who isn’t paired up, this is the perfect day for the two of you to deepen your friendship! Pick a few activities you both enjoy, and design a day around them. If you’re comfortable attending a Valentine’s- themed singles event, that can be a good option, too. Just keep in mind that whatever you choose to do, you’re in it together.

Follow Your Passion If you don’t feel like spending the day with some one you love, try spending it with some thing you love instead. Treat yourself to a day off to attend that woodworking class you’ve had your eye on, read your favorite book, bake something delicious, or work on your car. Taking the time out of your busy schedule to enjoy something you love is sure to turn your day around. We hope these tips will help you enjoy your Feb. 14, but if there’s something more serious than a blue mood bothering you, our team of experienced family law attorneys can help with that, too. We’re equipped to handle any curveballs your divorce, separation, or custody battle has thrown your way. Call us today at 864-598-9172 for expert advice.

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Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved • 2 gala apples, cut into wedges • 1 red onion, cut into wedges • 2 sprigs rosemary • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste Ingredients

• 4 boneless chicken breasts • 1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped • 2 tbsp butter, divided • 2/3 cup apple cider • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

So You Think You’re In Love 2 Things to Consider Before Introducing Your Kids to a New Partner

Directions

1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. On a baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts, apples, onion, and rosemary sprigs in olive oil, salt, and pepper. 3. Roast vegetable and fruit mixture until tender, about 25–30 minutes, flipping halfway. 4. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. 5. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Add chicken and cook 6 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 2 more minutes. 6. Pour cider onto chicken. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and let it rest on cutting board. 7. Return skillet to stove on medium-high and simmer sauce until reduced by half. 8. Swirl remaining 1 tbsp of butter with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slice chicken and divide among plates with roasted vegetables and serve.

If you’ve struggled through a divorce and moved on to find new love, congratulations! We hope you have a fantastic Valentine’s Day together — you deserve it after what you’ve been through. That said, as excited as you likely are about your new flame, we’d advise using caution when introducing them to the rest of your family, especially your children. It’s common knowledge that divorces are rough on kids, but being introduced to a new potential parent figure can be just as tricky to navigate as disentangling from an old one. Before you take the leap, This is a two-part question. First, how long has it been since your divorce? And second, how long have you been dating this new partner? If your divorce was recent and you have young children, introducing a new partner too soon could be confusing and upsetting. As DivorceMag put it, “Children need time to adjust to their parents’ split, and it can take a year or two for them to get over anger, sadness, and other emotions.” Similarly, if you’ve only been dating your new partner for a short time, introducing them prematurely could lead to heartbreak for your kids if you separate, particularly if they get along well. Some experts suggest waiting as long as As hard as it can be to accept, it’s a lot easier to be a great boyfriend or girlfriend than a great parental figure. Before you introduce your kids to a new flame, ask yourself, “Can I see this person stepping into a parental role? Will this person be able to gracefully handle conflict with your former spouse if it arises? Are they mature enough to handle being a parent? Are they willing to help raise my children?” If you answered “no” to any of the above, you should certainly rethink the introduction — and maybe the relationship. If you’re worried about the implications of a new partner on your custody agreement or are struggling to deal with a new partner brought in by your ex-spouse, our team can help you check yourself and explore your legal options. Visit SCFamilyLaw.com today to schedule a consultation. consider these two things. How long has it been? six months before introducing a new partner. Is this person a good fit for my family?

take a break

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PAGE 1 The Stevens Firm Partners Take NASA by Storm PAGE 2 Stop and Smell the Roses Three Platonic Ways to Celebrate Love on Valentine’s Day PAGE 3 Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts 2 Things to Consider Before Introducing Your Kids to a New Partner PAGE 4 Give the Gift of Life

Give the Gift of Life Feb. 14 Is National Donor Day

With all the cards, chocolates, and expensive dinners, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. However, National Donor Day also falls on Feb. 14, and it can refocus our attention back on the real meaning of the day: love. In the U.S., 20 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. Losing loved ones is one of the most painful aspects of the human experience, and while it is unavoidable, organ donation offers a pathway to help prevent that loss and keep more love in the world. In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14. Register as an organ donor. Signing yourself up is easy and can be done either online or in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need official identification to register. Registration is

not permanent and you will always have the option to change your mind. Once registered, you will not need to carry your donor card with you, as your status exists in the registry. Join a Donor Dash. Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed to bring donors and recipients together and keep hope alive for those who are currently waiting for a donation. To learn more, or to register for an event, check out DonorAlliance.org. Participate in #StartTheConversation. Donor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to promote organ donation, began the #StartTheConversation campaign as a way to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. Starting the conversation can be as simple as sharing that you registered with your

friends and family or as personal as sharing a story about how organ donation has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day come and go in a tide of cellophane, candy hearts, and cheesy cards. This year, get involved in National Donor Day. After all, what better way is there to express the value of love than giving the gift of life?

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