Help for Separating Couples in South Jersey

Forty to fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce, current trends indicate. Sadly, it’s a statistic that is widely known in the United States. In New Jersey in particular, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 20,000 divorces in the state alone. While the statistics are not unfamiliar to most, for those going through separation and divorce, the initial stages of divorce can be quite foreign.

Divorce and legal separation from a spouse can trigger all sorts of unsettling thoughts and emotions, including grief, loneliness, depression, anger, guilt, frustration and anxiety. At Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS), a “Surviving Separation” group is being offered to address these personal and sometimes tumultuous feelings. The group works to provide support and guidance during the pre-divorce and divorce stages.

Debra Goldsmith, LCSW and facilitator of the group, says attendees of the group find the group beneficial. “They expressed appreciation for the opportunity to dialogue in a supportive and safe atmosphere. One client wrote that it was life-changing for her, and helped her be able to move forward, says Goldsmith. “Another participant said this group helped to address the emotional, intellectual, and social conditions that constantly play havoc with a person’s life during and after separation.”

The “Surviving Separation” support group is a structured, 6-session process, attempting to “quick start” healing from pain, and help one get healthy. The homework assignments help a person explore themselves and how the divorce happened. Armed with this understanding, one gains a positive outlook for their future.

Marc Dombeck, PhD, of says, “There is frequently sadness and grief at the thought of the end of a significant relationship. Divorce is generally a stressful and unsettling event. At minimum, a major relationship is ending, all sorts of routines are upset, and in the midst of the stress of transition there are legal hoops to jump through before things can be resolved. Add in the volatile emotions that are frequently associated with divorce and you have a difficult situation indeed.”

While divorce is inevitable for many couples, how a partner deals with their feelings regarding the separation can encourage healing, strength and hope during a time of uncertainty and unchartered waters.

For more information, and schedule of Surviving Separation meetings, please call Meri Seligman at 856-424-1333, or email


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