Meet Ilyssa Panitz, a Westchester Divorce Journalist
Divorce can be an overwhelming process for any family. Take it from Ilyssa Panitz, a long-time Rye Brook resident who served her husband with divorce papers in 2018. Ilyssa became overwhelmed when she searched for information on Google. This eventually led to her becoming the only Divorce Journalist in Westchester just one year post-divorce.
Through her work, she helps others navigate this major life transition by “exclusively” covering every angle of this topic, including co-parenting during and after this adjustment, what people need to know about the Westchester court system, where people can find resources and professionals to help them with this shift, budget friendly activities to do with the kids during your parenting time and so much more. She also has a nationally syndicated/live streamed radio show called, “The Divorce Hour with Ilyssa Panitz” and her divorce column. Read on to learn more about Ilyssa and how she can help Westchester families going through divorce.
Westchester Family: How did you become a Divorce Journalist?
Ilyssa Panitz: I was a Celebrity Reporter for close to 20-years. My job was to be front and center on every red carpet and producing photo shoots in a Hollywood star’s home. Then on February 16, 2018, I served my ex-husband with divorce papers and my life became a living nightmare. Not only did I not know how to find the right attorney for my situation, but when my divorce started darting in a million directions, I went to Google to research what was happening. Too many page choices came up on the screen and I got overwhelmed. I immediately clicked off. Then I turned my attention to the media, where I had been working interviewing the stars. I was channel surfing when I heard the news anchor toss to the Transportation Correspondent, the Lifestyle Correspondent, the Financial Correspondent, the Medical Correspondent (you get the idea) and then I screamed, “WHERE IS THE DIVORCE CORRESPONDENT? I AM GOING THROUGH A HORRIFIC DIVORCE!”
Sadly, there was no one. Then, during Covid, while I was still in the middle of a difficult divorce, I lost my job. Since many people were reinventing themselves during lockdown and reinvention is a common theme in a divorce, I created the Divorce Beat and Divorce Journalism right from my dining room table.
I saw a void in the media industry and decided I was going to fill it. I built a divorce column, and in less than one-year later it grew into a nationally syndicated/live streamed radio show called, “The Divorce Hour with Ilyssa Panitz.” The program is also a Podcast, which you can find on: Spotify, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Alexa, and Google Home.
Westchester Family: Why do you think the divorce process is so confusing/complicated?
Ilyssa Panitz: The divorce process is complicated and confusing for many reasons.
1. No one knows what to expect. The perception is a divorce is a straight shot from point-A to point-B. It is not! It is a long and lengthy process, so you better be patient, especially if your divorce needs to be litigated in court and you are assigned to a Judge.
2. People don’t understand the importance of planning for a divorce before they file for one. Everyone spends weeks or even months planning for their kid’s birthday party or a vacation, Yet, when it comes to a divorce, they just jump into it without a plan because they are acting on emotion. This is a huge and costly mistake.
3. People associate the word “divorce” with the word, “attorney” and make that their first call. WRONG. The first person you must call and meet with is your financial planner and/or your CPA. You must sit down with a financial professional and get a full grasp on your financial situation.
For example; what are the balances in your bank/investment accounts, what institution are those accounts in, do you have a mortgage, retirement accounts, the cars, any/all credits cards, and their current balances. You have heard the saying, “divorce is all about the money.” That is because that it what is all boils down to, you and your spouse are dissolving a business and going your separate ways.
3. People need to spend time researching & meeting several different professionals because you need to build a team. Yes, you need a team during a divorce, which most people don’t realize. You should not put all the onus on your attorney. If you do, you will get an astronomical bill (and those are not fun to receive). Another quick FYI, everyone has the perception, “hire the shark.” WRONG! Just because your neighbor needed a pit-bull because they were in a contentious divorce doesn’t mean that is the type of legal eagle you need. Meet with a couple different legal and financial professionals and see who you best match with.
I also highly recommend you work with a therapist because divorce is an emotional roller coaster, and you will need to talk to a mental health counselor.
4. Pace yourself. The divorce process can be a lengthy process. Some (not all) divorces can go on for years. 5. Going through a divorce can be extremely time consuming. It can interfere with your free time, time with your kids and you may have to take time off your job.
Westchester Family: How do you help others during this time/process?
Ilyssa Panitz: I always tell people think of me as your Waze/GPS. I am here to guide you every step of the way by interviewing divorce experts for different topics that you can read in over 200-plus articles and or listen to on over 70-plus episodes. There is a familiar saying, there’s an app for that! Well, my saying, “I have an expert for that.” 4. How do you work with people in Westchester?
Westchester Family: How do you work with people in Westchester?
Ilyssa Panitz: I get a lot of people in the area reaching out to me. I remind them that I am not an attorney. I am not a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst). I am not a therapist. Again, I am your road map and a Journalist who is here to supply you with news you need to know about a divorce. That is my job, convey important/valuable information you won’t find anywhere. No other Journalist does what I do.
Westchester Family: Anything else to add?
Ilyssa Panitz: I get what people are experiencing. I understand the wave of emotions, the financial stress, trying to rebuild of your life, juggle kids, have a career…which is why I continue to build this platform. I use the hashtags #buildbackbetter #hereforyou #heretostay all the time.
When people are going through a divorce, they need someone they can relay on who won’t let them down. That person is me. I am always digging up and uncovering new angles, new information, new experts to learn from because I am driven to make a difference in the lives of others drowning in the complicated process.
Ilyssa Panitz Details
Listen to her radio show & read my column to learn more at ilyssapanitz.com