Website Seeks to Empower Women Facing Divorce
Palm Springs' Paula Swartz created LookForward based on her own divorce experience
Paula Swartz: "Look Forward is not about one way. It’s about finding your own way."
Courtesy of Paula Swartz
Divorce brings about enough change.
But if there was one thing Palm Springs resident Paula Swartz didn’t want to see change was her health insurance. The complexities created the need for a comfort zone and simply keep what she already had with her family group insurance policy.
Unfortunately what she discovered was once her divorce became legal, she said it was against the law for her to remain in that insurance policy.
“In your mind, you’re thinking this is one of the things I can negotiate,” says Swartz, who divorced after 15 years of marriage. “You can’t. You have to get out. That was really shocking to me in terms of the realities of divorce.”
There were plenty of others. Enough that Swartz decided to do something about it.
She created a website, LookForward, which not only handles such topics as health insurance, but prides itself on providing information specifically to women on a variety of topics from vetted professionals chosen by an advisory board comprised of Swartz herself, a lawyer, a practicing CPA, a clinical psychologist, and medical doctor.
palmspringslife.com caught up with Swartz to find out how LookForward can become a tool of empowerment for women going through one of the more difficult periods of their life.
When you were going through your divorce, did you find the information online that you were looking for?
“I found very generic information, a lot of blogging, chat rooms, a lot of celebrity divorces, and none of it was interesting or different models where they said you have to come to our event, pay for this event, or give me your email. You have to buy our program, or I’m a life coach and teaching you my way.”
Does LookForward preach a certain way to proceed?
“Look Forward is not about one way. It’s about finding your own way. We have one page articles that speak to women. When I entered into this world, it was daunting. There is so much information because you never think this is going to happen to you when you’re in a marriage.”
What was important about the information Look Forward provides?
“There was really an opportunity to say the narrative really has to change. We need to empower ourselves with information. If we’re still blaming, we’re still married. What this site is all about is that the back-story doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how we got here. What matters is we’re here. We have one page articles that speak to women. We created an internal app called My White Book. You can save an article to your white book, and allows you to see all of the titles of the articles you have saved.”
LookForward keeps users’ identities confidential. You log in with a user name and password. Why is that important?
“I also felt that the one thing you learn when you enter this world is that your privacy is so compromised. It’s such a scary time for women. You feel so insecure. You don’t know which way to turn. When you become a member, we don’t know who you are. We never ask for that information.”
Do you have a platform for members to contact one another, or a chat room?
“What we have is a member’s story. We encouraged members to share some anecdotal of their process. They cannot use names, not identify anyone in the article. They are only a state they are form – we don’t want anyone to track them. What we encouraged is if they have a question, talk to the credentialed professional. All of the professionals on LookForward have a bio, a picture and contact info. You can do that on your own discretion."
Divorce can be embarrassing and cause the person to withdraw. Does that make them less likely to look for help?
“Often, you have to go to these events, it’s almost like you’re wearing a sign – ‘I’m one of those people’. We’re not ready to tell everybody. Some of us are thinking about divorce. And we know that this is the direction we are headed in or we’re already there. Look Forward is a place you can be anonymous, your identity is protected, and for $49.95 you take the information you need, and there is no need to be worried about being embarrassed. This is all about empowerment. Taking control of your own life. Slowing down and knowing there is no easy answer. No one way. One size does not fit all.”