Take Control Blog

Divorce Support Groups Can Help

I often get asked about the value of divorce support groups and where one can find such a group. Going through my divorce, I only wish that I would have attended such a group. Post divorce, I came to understand the value of not going it alone. It’s with this mind that I spoke with Adriana Linares. A divorcee herself and a volunteer, Adriana leads the Miami Divorce Support Group in Coral Gables.

TBK: What is the purpose of your group and how does one sign-up?

LINARES: The purpose of the Miami Divorce Support is to provide a support for anyone going through a separation or divorce. The group started at Granada Presbyterian Church. I was a group participant five years ago, and then I was asked to lead the group in 2012. The non-denominational group is a safe place where people can come to share, learn, and get through the process of separation or divorce. People can sign-up at www.meetup.com. However, not everyone joins us through Meetup. A lot of people come referred by others, or find us through the church’s website (www.Ganadapca.org). It is NOT a requirement to be part of Meetup or attend the church in order to join the group.

TBK: Why do people typically join the group?

LINARES: People typically join the group to find support, guidance, and to learn from others going through the same situation.

TBK: What type of support does the group provide?

LINARES: We provide two types of meetings. On the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, we meet for regular support group meetings. In these meetings, we have an informal open discussion setting where people can talk, share, and listen to others. It really helps people to have a safe environment to be heard and to feel understood. On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, we provide a course called DivorceCare (www.divorcecare.org). It is a structured class with a video, a workbook, and group discussion. The course covers 13 different topics, and it gives people perspective, wisdom, and tips for getting through a separation or divorce. The course is provided year-round, and people can attend at any time throughout the course because each topic is standalone.

TBK: What are the different needs of members according to their process; say, someone in the divorce process versus another that’s recently divorced?

LINARES: We have found that there are generally three groups of people: 1) recently separated; 2) in the divorce process; and 3) just divorced. Each group has different needs, but all have to grieve the loss of the relationship, the marriage, and everything associated with it. Those recently separated are assimilating the news; and trying to face the reality of what happened. They are normally confused about what are the next steps to take; what outcome they really want; and how to deal with this new reality. For those in the divorce process, they have to deal with the lawyers, their spouse’s responses, and issues of asset separation, money, and child custody. Once divorced, people have to accept that divorce is final and deal with issues of starting over, both emotionally and financially. A sad reality is that many people in our group, both men and women, are also dealing with the pain of infidelity. These people need help with self-esteem, forgiveness and understanding that their spouse’s actions do not define who they are. Overall, our goal is for people to know that they are not alone during these difficult times.