Divorced mothers usually find themselves under increased pressure to support their household financially and emotionally. In recognition of the stress that accompanies these responsibilities, non-profit groups, charities and community organizations offer assistance to divorced moms in the forms of counseling, low-interest loans, grants and support groups.
Financial Assistance for Divorced Moms
Financial assistance for divorced moms comes in many forms: counseling about budgeting and financial planning, low-interest loans, grants, subsidized food programs and even free automobiles and cell phones. The organizations below focus on helping mothers who are struggling financially with the means to attend school, become financially independent or grow a business.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: This program provides undergraduate students with $100-$4,000 a year to pay for education expenses, such as books and tuition. Students are prioritized according to financial need. There is no age restriction for applicants and since grant funding is provided, the recipient does not have to pay the money back.
- Federal Pell Grant: This grant is given to undergraduate students with a documented financial need to help pay for their education. In 2011, the maximum award was approximately $5,000. The amount awarded will depend on whether the student attends school on a full or part-time basis. Awarded funds do not need to be repaid. There is no age restriction for applicants.
- National Child Support Enforcement Association: This non-profit group gives divorced parents who are owed child support payments direction on how to obtain them. The group operates more than 350 chapters nationwide, and provides state-specific information to each individual seeking advice.
- Pension Rights Center: Through this group, newly divorced moms can determine their rights to their ex-spouse's pension plan. The group discusses the federal and state laws that apply to the mother's situation.
- Free Charity Cars: This charity refurbishes automobiles and gives them to needy individuals at a low cost. The group also provides interest-free or low-interest loans to qualified individuals to help them finance the vehicle.
- National School Lunch Program: This federally-funded program provides children of low-income families with lunch and after school snacks. A similar program exists for breakfast.
- SafeLink Wireless: This program provides individuals who qualify for a federal support program, such as Medicaid or food stamps, with free cell phones with a 250 minute per-month plan.
- Health and Human Services Child Care Program: This federal program provides parents with free child care while they attend school or a training program. To qualify, parents must be receiving temporary financial assistance or transitioning from public to private housing.
Emotional Support Programs for Divorced Mothers
Emotional support for divorced moms takes the forms of support groups, counseling and even legal guidance. The programs below focus on providing divorced mothers with information about the common effects of divorce and running a single parent household.
- International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors: This association provides referrals to licensed therapists and counselors familiar with handling the emotional difficulties many children and adults encounter during or after a divorce. Referrals are available for any state.
- National Association of Counsel for Children: This non-profit group gives interested individuals the most up-to-date information about divorce legislation. Although it researches recently-passed laws about any aspect of a divorce, it mainly focuses on child support and custody issues.
- Children's Rights Counsel: This organization educates parents about handling the most common responses and problems affectiing children during and after a divorce.
- Child Abuse Listening and Mediation: This group counsels parents who believe that the stresses in their lives may lead them to harm their children. Counseling can be one-on-one or through support groups. Support focuses on fostering better relationships between children and divorced parents.
- DivorceCare.org: This organization teaches parents about how divorce affects themselves and their children and how to handle the changes it causes. Local chapters can be found on the organization's website. The group also offers DivorceCare for Kids.
Divorced mothers can also find support online. Usually, online support takes the form of discussion forums or regularly posted articles about the event written by professional counselors.
- Midlife Divorce Recovery: This online support group provides discussion forums, statistics and recent divorce laws. Users can also access articles on a variety of divorce topics.
- Women's Divorce: This online chat forum allows divorced women to discuss troubling situations around their divorce.
If you are a divorced mother in need of emotional or financial support, contact one or more of these organizations. You can also call your local church or community center for referrals to local support groups. Online support is also avalable
If, after attending or participating in the group's offerings, you don't find it helpful, ask the organization's leaders if they know of any other support groups that may provide you with the assistance you seek. Remember that you are not alone in your struggles.