Programs that provide assistance for people who are initiating or responding to a suit for an annulment of their marriage, which establishes that a marital status never existed; a legal separation, which suspends the marriage so far as concerns the cohabitation of the two parties; or a divorce, which totally dissolves the marriage relationship. These programs may also discuss and represent the individual's interests regarding distribution of property assets and parenting issues regarding any children.
Programs that are specially designed for parents who are separated, in the process of divorcing or have divorced or who never married but have children and who need to develop the knowledge and skills to understand and respond to the special needs their children may have as a result of the divorce/separation and to succeed in their ongoing roles as mother and father despite the fact that they are no longer husband and wife or partners. Topics may include the impact of separation and divorce on families, developmental stages of children and expected reactions to divorce, skills parents can use to minimize stress and help children to cope, guidelines for reducing conflicts and solving custody issues out of court and recognizing when a child needs special help and where to find resources. Co-parenting workshops may also be structured for parents in other situations.
Programs that explore the meaning of contemporary relationships; the attitudes, feelings and interpersonal behaviours that can facilitate or hinder the development of intimate relationships; and strategies for letting go of past relationships, leaving present relationships that cannot work, enhancing current relationships that have potential for success, and entering into new relationships that are personally satisfying. Workshops may focus on evaluating past relationships, developing the confidence to approach potential partners and initiate new relationships, learning to love and maintain commitments, developing sexual intimacy, problem solving and communication in relationships and other similar topics.
Mutual support groups whose members are individuals or couples who want to learn to build healthy, lasting relationships and/or work through problems such as poor communication or infidelity in a current relationship or marriage. Included are groups for people who have never been married, are divorced, widowed, in a relationship or presently married, and want to learn to develop intimacy, communicate effectively, work as a team to solve problems, manage conflicts without damaging closeness and preserve and enhance love, commitment and friendship within the context of a marriage or relationship. The groups meet in-person, by telephone or via the Internet; and provide an opportunity for participants to share their experience, strengths and hopes, understand their relationships and work through related emotions.
Programs that provide emotional support, information and guidance in a variety of settings for individuals who are divorced or have decided to divorce or separate, and for their families.
Programs that provide emotional support, problem solving assistance, and guidance for one or both married or cohabiting partners who are having problems with their relationship and need assistance to identify the root of their difficulty and explore alternative resolutions with the objective of enhancing the relationship for both partners. Counselling may be available in a variety of settings and may include individual or group counselling for one or both of the partners, conjoint counselling and encounter-type experiences for groups of couples who are experiencing marital problems and/or who want to enhance their marriages.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.