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Why and Where You Should Attend a Divorce Support Group in Grand Rapids, MI


Why You Should Attend a Divorce Support Group

Going through a divorce takes a lot of time and energy, causes a lot of pain, and is financially draining.  A divorce does not happen overnight.  Often the marriage was declining for years, and the emotional toll has been harming each spouse’s mental health for a prolonged period of time.

Even with approximately 35-50% of marriages ending in divorce, the divorce process is still very isolating. Being single again or being a single parent is lonesome and quite likely a learning experience.  A divorce support group can be a great resource when starting over.

What to Expect When you Attend a Divorce Support Group

Most divorce support groups are free, and they provide short term guidance; the program usually takes approximately ten weeks.  In West Michigan, most programs occur in local churches.  Attendees do not have to be a member of that, or any, church to attend.

The program is led by an experienced host, therapist or coach who guides a group discussion. Many programs use a workbook to ensure that the group stays on track regarding their topics and progress through the materials.

Most groups have at least 5 attendees, and usually more than 10 people attend the support group.

Information shared at a divorce support group is confidential. However, keep in mind that you attend with a group of people you do not really know. In other words, you are relying on each of your co-attendees to maintain your confidentiality which is different from an individual counseling session, where the counselor has sworn to maintain confidentiality and could be grieved or lose a license when betraying confidences. Our advice is to explore what your selected group’s policy is regarding confidentiality. Do you need to share your last name with the group? Your contact information? How much is confidentiality discussed during the first session?

The goal of the sessions is to share common experiences, to express your grief, to provide each other with local resources, and possibly to make new friends when you have lost some common friends or your current friends do not understand your sense of loss and sadness.

What Not to Expect When you Attend a Divorce Support Group

Divorce support groups are not a substitute for individual counseling.  Individual counseling focuses on your specific situation, the therapist’s focus on your situation only and therapy is provided by a licensed and well-educated counselor. A few individual counseling sessions are almost always helpful and worth your time and money during or after your divorce.

You have no control over the other attendees. Everyone that attends is sad, frustrated, and at times angry.  Although you attend to share your feelings, you should anticipate that others will do as well, and some may do so poorly.

You will not, nor should you, receive legal advice.  The group leader is usually not an attorney, and if the leader is an attorney, they should not provide legal advice.  Legal advice in divorce proceedings should be based on a thorough review of your specific facts and review of your previous legal pleadings.

Available Divorce Support Groups in West Michigan

Most programs start early January and meetings are held in the evening.  You will need to sign up for the program (use the links below).  Some groups are free, and some groups request a small fee.

Calvary Church on the East Beltline has meetings on Tuesday at 6:30 pm.  The program runs from January 16 through April 23, 2024.

Calvary Baptist Church meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. They are located on 28th Street, and their meetings run from January 10 to April 17.

A third option is to attend meetings at Front Line Community Church located on Plainfield Avenue. Their meetings are on Tuesdays as well at 6:30 pm, and the program starts soon.

Cornerstone Church on 56th St in Wyoming also meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm. The program starts on January 9.

The Catholic Church provides a support divorce group at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, MI on a recurring basis, but they do not have a program this winter.

Other Support Groups

Kent County has several support groups available for spouses dealing with domestic violence, such as men’s resource centerSafe Haven Ministries, and YWCA

There are also a number of support groups for individuals dealing with addiction or to support the family of those dealing with addiction. A few options to explore are Al-Anon, AA, or Families Against Addiction support group.


Talking helps.  Listening to shared grief helps.  A support group is a great start towards healing.  Take the first step towards healing in 2024 and attend a group.  If you need legal advice regarding your divorce proceedings, give us a call at 616-285-0808, and let’s talk about what we can do for you!