Going through a divorce is extremely challenging. The physical separation and impact on financial security can negatively affect not only the couple, but their children, extended family members, and friends as well. Children have to adjust to living without both parents in the home.
Grandparents may have to step in to help with the children. Friends feel as though they have to choose sides. Plus, the divorcees have to adjust to living without a partner. This means that they no longer have the one-on-one support to help them deal with their finances, emotions, and other aspects of life.
A divorce support group is an excellent coping mechanism for surviving divorce. It’s a way to connect with others in similar situations.
These groups are especially beneficial for people who are losing their support system as a result of the separation. A support group is a good way for any recently divorced person to work through their emotions when adjusting to their new life.
What is a Divorce Support Group?
Divorce support groups are a type of therapy. They provide an opportunity to connect with other people going through this significant life change as well. Support groups are a “safe place” where you can share your experiences without judgment. Plus, support groups allow you to see that other people are surviving divorce.
A support group focuses on ways attendees can process everything in healthy ways. Talking with people who you do not have to see in your daily life allows you to say how you feel without fear of it being brought up later.
Depending on the group you join, there might also be other activities that help you learn yourself, develop skills, find hobbies, and learn to talk about your divorce with other people.
The recovery process is different for each person. That is one of the reasons a divorce care group is so beneficial.
You are able to connect with people who are in different situations who are willing to share what is working for them.
Who Needs a Divorce Support Group?
Any recent divorcee could benefit from a support group. However, these groups are also a good place to start if you are working up the courage to file for divorce.
When a married couple separates, they must divide the community assets and debts. Here is a list of some of the things that need to be divided when a couple separates:
- Time with Children
- Shared Possessions
- Vacation Property
- Business Assets
For spouses who are not working at the time of the split, they need to find a way to support themselves. There might also be additional financial obligations for divorcees, including spousal support or child support.
Many people do not realize how much life changes after a divorce. No matter how prepared you may feel about moving on with your life, it can still be a struggle when the full gravity of the situation hits.
That’s why, when you are going through a separation, it is imperative to take care of your mental health.
Even if you’re ready to start a new life, you might find it difficult to cope. In fact, 10% of people in the United States who have never suffered from depression suffered from the illness for some time after initiating a divorce, and 60% of people who suffered from depression before they separated had a recurrence afterward.
These feelings are understandable because a lot of people view the end of a marriage as a failure. Plus, they may lose friends, family members, a family home, and other things that gave them a sense of security during their marriage.
That’s why it’s best to be proactive and join a support group or find a support structure that works for you. Being proactive is likely the best way to prevent depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions before they arise.
Speaking with other people who are also surviving divorce is a great way to work through your emotions.
Types of Divorce Support Groups
There are several types of divorce support groups. There are online and in-person groups for people of all ages and backgrounds, as well as groups for struggling family members.
Divorce care groups can be offered through churches, community centers, and more.When choosing a support group, it is essential to keep an open mind and try a few before committing to one.
Online Divorce Support Groups
There are numerous online divorce therapy groups. Some are moderated by divorce experts, while others are more of an open forum.
Some groups allow you to share stories and ask for advice. Others meet on a schedule and follow a specific structure. A quick Google search reveals a variety of divorce support groups. Some of the most popular include:
These sites offer help on a variety of topics. You can also ask questions and share advice with others. So, even if you go to an in person support group, these are a great resource.
Local Support Groups
Churches are a great resource for people going through divorce and many churches do not require membership to attend. Local groups are beneficial because you can gain insight into other resources in your area.
Divorce support groups also get together to do fun activities at times. These events help divorcees meet new people and rebuild their social life, which is an important part of recovery.
Divorce Support for Women
There are multiple online and in-person divorce care groups specifically for women. These support groups allow divorced women to safely share their stories with other women going through similar situations.
Sites like Woman’s Divorce offer assistance that is specific to women who are divorcing their partners.
The issues that women encounter during the divorce process are different. Some women do not feel comfortable sharing stories about issues they faced with their ex in a group with men. So, meeting with other women can be beneficial.
Support Groups for Men
There is a social stigma that men should not be open about their emotional suffering. This causes men to be less likely to seek help. They may feel the need to appear strong to those around them.
However, this will only exacerbate mental health issues. Joining a Men’s support group can help men work through their feelings. Talking to a group of people in a safe environment gives them a chance to speak openly about what they’re experiencing.
Divorce Support Groups for Newly-Single Parents
Parents have different concerns when it comes to separation. They have to deal with matters relating to child care, child support, and custody disputes.
All the while continuing to care for and emotionally support their children. It can help to have other parents to talk to about how to better help themselves and their children cope.
These groups do not just help parents adjust to their new lives. They also teach parents how to speak to their children about what is going on. They provide tools to equip parents to best support their children.
Together, parents and children can overcome the challenges during the divorce, so the entire family is happier.
Domestic Violence Divorce Support Groups
Domestic violence makes divorce even more challenging. The abuse is often more difficult to work through than the divorce.
Support groups for domestic abuse survivors provide a safe environment to share their feelings. These groups give survivors the tools they need to work through the abuse and cope with their new life.
These organizations will help you find a domestic violence support group near you.
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is even more important for you to have the resources to free yourself safely. Luckily, there is help available. Do not be afraid to reach out to local domestic violence groups, shelters, or a church for assistance.
Divorce Support for Children and Teens
Children can also suffer when their parents go through a divorce. It may be difficult for them to process the feelings they have, so it is crucial that not only you learn how to communicate appropriately about the divorce, but that your children have the means to express what they are feeling as well.
Having other children to talk to about the experience can be very beneficial. It gives the child the ability to share their feelings without feeling like they are going to hurt one or both of their parents. Allowing children and teens to work through their feelings is very important, and it can make parenting easier, too.
Often, when kids and teens do not have this opportunity, they begin to act out, which may be due to emotional pain.
Sometimes, adolescents are unaware of the reasons they feel sad or upset, so it is difficult for them to talk about it, especially with a family member.
At school, they are around children whose parents are still together, and they might not have anyone to relate with about the changes occurring in their life. Luckily, several great organizations offer divorce recovery support for children, so they can properly work through their emotions.
Rainbows is an international organization. It offers many services, including children of divorce support groups. The organization focuses on specific age groups, following a format and giving adolescents assistance to work through their emotions.
Rainbows has been around for many years, so you can trust that it has the experience necessary to help your child.
DivorceCare for Kids
DivorceCare for Kids focuses on helping children ages 5 through 12 process their emotions about their parents’ divorce. The groups are fun and safe environments that allow children to engage in activities with other children of divorcing parents. It is an excellent chance for school-age kids to gather with others who are going through the same thing.
Other Places to Find Divorce Support for Adolescents
If there is not a nearby support group, check with local churches. They often have divorce care groups that will give your child the support they need during their adjustment. You can also check with your child’s school.
Often larger schools have trauma support groups. The only problem with that is then your child has to see the other people in their group regularly.
Preparing for Divorce
It is important to identify your support structure before you start the divorce process. If you are just thinking about divorcing your spouse, there are divorce support meetup groups for you as well. At a pre-divorce group, you can gather facts about the process and acquire tips to care for your mental health.
However, it’s not best to get legal advice from your divorce care group. If you’re interested in understanding the legal divorce process, it’s best to consult with a divorce attorney.
When looking for a divorce attorney, be sure to find one who is well-versed in family law. They can help you understand the legal process.
Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side can help create a more amicable divorce, which is less stressful for everyone involved.
Going through a divorce is challenging. However, finding emotional guidance through a divorce care group and legal guidance from a knowledgeable attorney will help to make the experience a lot easier.