Start Making It Livable for Everyone

Separating or divorced parents with minor children in Branch County may find coping mechanisms through SMILE.

Each year more than one million marriages in the United States end in divorce. When divorce happens, people feel alone and wonder how anyone else lived through it.

Start Making It Livable for Everyone (SMILE) is a program for separating/divorced parents with minor children in Branch County. The developers of this program have worked with hundreds of divorcing families having difficulties with time sharing, parenting roles and other divorce-related issues. SMILE helps parents to better understand the effects of divorce, the needs of their children and their roles in promoting their children’s healthy adjustment to divorce.

The information shared during SMILE comes direct from the experience of the program developers and other professionals in the field of divorce. Because each divorce and family situation is unique, participants are encouraged to consult other services available to divorced parents and their children. These services include psychological, legal, support groups, emergency services, court mediation, conflict resolution and mediation agencies, books and articles relating to divorce.

SMILE in Branch County is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension, Judges of the Circuit Court and Branch County Friend of the Court.

Why is SMILE important? Divorce is a process over which children have no control. Children should not become victims of divorce. When parents are under stress, it is harder to be in touch with their children’s pain and anguish.

It takes time, effort and planning on behalf of both parents to be able to provide for children’s needs. In the crisis of divorce, parents may put their children on hold while they attend to adult problems first. Sometimes separated or divorced parents find that their roles and expectations are undefined and cloudy. SMILE is available so nobody has to go through divorce or separation alone.

 To find out when the next SMILE class will take place in Branch County call the MSU Extension Branch County office at 517-279-4311.

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