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Divorce support groups may provide key help for the transition

January is National Divorce Month in Georgia and other states. The designation is apropos because January is usually the month with the highest numbers of divorces each year. Because divorce is sometimes more inconvenient and particularly stressful over the holiday months at the end of the year, people wait until the new year to strike out on their own.

Ironically, divorce support groups are more prevalent for middle-aged older women than for younger women in their 20s. What makes that somewhat surprising  is the fact that a majority of divorces involve spouses in their 20s. Statistics show that the younger one is when he or she is married, the greater the likelihood of a later divorce.

That phenomenon is somewhat lessened by the fact that millennials today are waiting until their late 20s to get married. Nonetheless, those married at younger ages are more likely to get a divorce. A younger person getting divorced may not get easily acclimated to the church groups and other support organizations that generally attract older men and women.

A younger person may find it easier to turn to the more usual support mechanisms: close friends, joining a young professionals single group or an online dating and/or counseling service. They may also seek individual counseling or counseling services through a university. But all in all, there appears to be a certain void of supportive services for many who become single in their 20s and who find the need for a transitional helping hand.

Although the more formal services in Georgia and elsewhere tend to service older persons, counselors say that the issues of divorce are the same and cut across age lines. Common concerns are financial setbacks, overcoming abuse and infidelity and the emotional drain taken by a demanding and unfamiliar legal process. One woman who stuck with a support group with participants much older than herself reported she learned from the experience. She grew stronger through their invaluable advice, which was validated by their own struggles with very similar challenges. Support, particularly for a high asset divorce, from an experienced family law attorney is also a critical component to ensure fair treatment in achieving a comprehensive and equitable settlement.

Source: delawareonline.com, "Few support services offered for divorced 20-somethings", Margie Fishman, Jan. 16, 2015

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