Blog, stories and articles on personal issues and challenges faced by South Asians and Non Resident Indians (NRIs)

NRI Divorce Forums and support groups online

Deciding whether to divorce and then working through the emotional issues of a divorce takes time, energy, and coping skills. Some of the forums for people of Indian Origin include:
  • Break Ke Baad - Bay Area Indian Divorced Singles (meetup group) Parenting is difficult as is these days. Single Parenting even more difficult. They say - it takes a village to raise a child...Lets make this the village for the divorced children!

  • Divorced Separated(ing) Widow Desis >NJ PA CT NY DE w/wo Kids (meetup group) The first and "ORIGINAL" group for Desis who are: "Divorced, Separated,­ In Process of Separation, Widowed Desis with/or w/o Kids in NJ/PA/CT/NY :)"

  • Divorced Desi's (meetup group) We are striving to be a vital, active, and top-notch community of single parents and divorcees of Indian origin (anybody belonging to Indian Sub-continent) in the quad-state area of CT, NY, NJ, and PA .

  • Atlanta Indian Divorced/Single Parent Support/Meetup (meetup group) This meetup is created to support and strength other single parents/divorcees in Atlanta, GA area

  • You are not alone, we are there is a mailing list for divorced women of Indian origin. This forum is active, and individuals take time to advice others.

  • Maitri: a free, con?dential, nonpro?t organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, that primarily helps families from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka among others) facing domestic violence, emotional abuse, cultural alienation, human traf?cking or family con?ict.

  • Wings: A new Family Circle: Wings is a support group for “single again” Indians in the Bay Area started by Shamyo Chatterjee. His divorce in 1998, he feels, was probably due to the stress faced by any working couple. As this father of two grappled with severe depression after his divorce, he realized that even therapy was not helpful, as the therapist did not understand his cultural baggage.
    In search of more people in the same situation, he advertised in the Bay Area Indian and San Jose Mercury News. This was the beginning of the support group, Wings, which started with 15 to 20 members, but has since grown to around 250.
    “Being with people who came from the same background and had gone through a similar experience was the only thing that helped me,” says Chatterjee. “Unless you have been through something as traumatic as a divorce, it is difficult to relate. Being with friends is better than therapy.”
    He says that upon hearing of a divorce, people in the South Asian community are not sure how to react. Then there is a slow, but sure diminishing of the friends circle for most Indian divorcées. Through Wings, they can interact with people from the same background, who are in the same situation. The group helps the members move forward and manage the loneliness that most feel.
    “I don’t feel any loneliness since I joined Wings,” says Jennifer. “There is a great deal of camaraderie. Mentally this group helps; members can get a lot of advice, on divorce and lawyers, and many other things too. I don’t feel cut off from society anymore.”
    “All my current friends are people I met through Wings,” says Chatterjee. He adds that the group plans activities such as camping and hiking with the assumption that children will be included. This helps single parents enormously as they can now take their kids to a place where they are not the only ones in a difficult situation.
    The entire group tries to meet at least once a month, and smaller informal groups of more intimate friends within Wings meet more often. The activities too are very loose and unstructured.
    “We have sangeet nights, garba, or Bollywood evenings, and also celebrate Divali; whatever there is to be celebrated we celebrate,” says Chatterjee. There is just one requirement for joining: “We don’t accept people unless they have at least filed for divorce,” says Maya.


How can support groups help? Example [from "You are not alone, we are there" forum]

Dear VVand KK andothers

In my case my ex husband physically abused me ..I had medical record ..and still the court gave my Ex- 50:50
custody and then I relocated and the 50:50 custody went away. my case was huge !

I know for a fact fighting custody battle with a physically and mentally cruel man like my ex..has taken a lot out of me. however to subject your children to his abuse is also alost cause.. you can not raise children in WAR ZONE.
To fear your ex- is also giving into his power.. when children are small the custodial parent is always the mother..once its fixed it is hard to change. you fight now ..to change later is going to be an uphill task and an emotinoal roller coaster. Try not to get custody evaluation done asthese psychologist can be brought under the table andare unethical..the truth no one cares about the children truly except the mother.
The court wants to appear impartial andhence you have these strange custodial arrangement.
- AA

Regardless of the state in which the divorce will be filed, I hear from many sources that once children are involved, the court is not going to care about the causes for the divorce - unless of course he is physically abusive and you have proof for it - doctor's prescriptions, pictures, dates, evidences, etc.

You are right in that we cannot prove controlling behaviors that manifest on a daily basis. That said, when little children are involved, the court almost always side the mother, especially in your case of very young children. BUT, to make your case for sole custody stronger, you
do need to stabilize your career. Because you need to prove that you can provide your children with their current standard of living that they are used to. The mantra that the court goes by is "best interest of the children".

In my case, I finished my MBA, got myself a decent job and am going for it. But even though I have an MBA, he has a Ph.D and makes more than 2 times what I make, I am somewhat at a disadvantage. I still hope that my education and job situation will be helpful in gaining sole custody.

Think seriously about your career options. How many more months before the baby comes out? Can you do something part time? How do you plan to support yourself and your kids after the separation?

Best wishes,
- VV

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