FINDING COMMUNITY AND BEING EMPOWERED THROUGH DIVORCE
Photos by Jessica Ashley
During her 16 years of experience representing men and women in divorce proceedings in Georgia and Florida, Pilar Prinz realized that her female clients often didn’t have access to the information they needed. Pilar says, “These were high-net worth, highly educated women, and you would think they would have had access to all of the resources they needed, but so often they didn’t, which led them to give up and take bad deals, a lot of times out of fear or a desire to keep the peace.”
Pilar also realized that when the women she represented did receive information, many times it was either misinformation from people who didn’t know the law or misunderstood it, or accurate information presented in a way that was difficult to understand. “Lawyers talk like lawyers, and legal-speak isn’t the same as girlfriend-speak. We can connect better when we talk like friends when giving legal information,” Pilar says.
Recognizing this disconnect as a serious problem, Pilar began brainstorming a solution. She thought about writing a book but decided that since there are already so many books, and as a society we have so little time, she would make her content as relatable as she possibly could in the modern age—pointed and easily digestible.
As Pilar continued to brainstorm, she unexpectedly began networking with her neighbor, Julie Klappas. “I knew Julie was a creative,” Pilar says, “but I still don’t know exactly what made me just walk over to her and start telling her all of these ideas as we stood in the driveway.” Julie immediately saw Pilar’s vision, and they began to workshop marketing ideas. Deciding to partner to create a community designed to empower, motivate, and connect women going through divorce, Divorce in Good Company was born.
They launched their website containing free information presented in easily digestible formats—short videos, articles, and listicles. Pilar says, “If a woman is in the carpool line or has a 30-minute break to sit in a Starbucks, and she’s hurting or scared, we want this to be a place she can go for immediate information and to feel helped. We’re finding that women go for one article, one specific topic, but they love the voice and the information, so they stay.”
Julie adds, “We really wanted the tone to be positive. It’s such a serious topic, and there is a potential for these conversations to get dark. Emotions are high, and that can lead to negativity. We’ve really made an effort to establish a tone of encouragement and positivity, to be a white light in all of the darkness that comes with divorce. We’re not Pollyanna about it, but we’re positive in a practical way.” Their initial nerves about how site visitors would respond were put to rest when they saw women ready to connect and to be encouraged and supported.
Angela, a divorced stay-at-home mom in California, says that the site, which launched within a month of her divorce papers being filed, came at the perfect time—just as she desperately needed someone to talk to who would bring positivity and make her feel secure, as everything in her life was changing. “I didn’t know where to begin,” she says. “There is a lot of vagueness around divorce, and I was trying to make decisions about things I had been removed from for years.” Angela came across the video, “Starting Your Divorce? Do These 5 Things First,” and took comfort in the concrete steps recommended by someone who knew what she was talking about. “It’s great, timely advice—actual legal advice. My girlfriends give great advice, but we’re all in different states and different situations, so it feels like the blind leading the blind in a legal sense. Pilar’s legal knowledge is such a comfort.”
“I log in and post often because it really takes a community,” Angela says. “As a stay-at-home mom, no one else in this process—not the judge, not the lawyers—knows where I’m coming from. And so much of the information out there is just, ‘this is the norm.’ But with Pilar and Divorce In Good Company, I get what’s best for the kids and learn how to get through this without them being scared. So many other forums are negative—all about revenge, or ‘woe is me,’ or trying to cheat the system. This site is about putting on your big-girl pants and dealing with it. And that’s what I needed.”
Lynn met Pilar in person in Florida based on a recommendation from her brother. She says, “From the moment I walked in, Pilar had this aura of comfort and competence—she’s the smartest person I’ve ever met.” Also a frequent visitor to the website, Lynn describes it as “a heartfelt and unique project—the only positive spin you’ll find.” She says, “It takes the edge off of the day-to-day monotony of waiting for it to be over. Her jokes and the easy way she words things and spins what has to happen, make me laugh out loud and put a smile on my face every time. She gives the information in such a gentle way—it’s lighthearted but still instructional. It gives you this sense of, ‘She’s in charge. She has me.’ And now I want her to meet my friends!”
Nicole is a (not divorce) lawyer in Georgia who appreciates Divorce in Good Company’s ability to fill the gray area between lawyer, accountant, and therapist. “It gives me a community of other women to lean on, a support network, and practical advice. There is so much more to divorce than just the legal side of it, and this really addresses the personal side. There’s all kinds of great advice about preparing yourself for divorce, but there’s also a list of movies to binge-watch by yourself over the holidays. You feel so lonely going through divorce, but Pilar and this community shift the dialogue from shameful to empowering.”
Pilar and Julie cover everything from hiring a lawyer and finding a therapist to dealing with emotional and financial abuse or domestic violence. They give advice on getting through the holidays, on putting together your “Divorce Squad,” and on avoiding sex with your ex. Anything you are struggling with as you make your way through the minefield that is getting divorced, you can bet there’s a video or article about it on the site. All of the current content is free, and the community is welcoming.
Women everywhere are going to the Divorce in Good Company website for help surviving divorce but instead begin a journey toward thriving through it. And what better way to begin that journey than by seeing the website’s welcome: “Hey, Beautiful. Going through divorce? Do more than survive. Thrive.”