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D.C. Divorce Groups Say Holidays Are Time For New Rituals

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By Mana Rabiee

The holidays can be a difficult time for people who are divorced or separated. At the Truro Church in Fairfax city, Virginia, prayers are read in Spanish in a music room. Upstairs, Donald Emery facilitates a group counseling session for people who are divorced or separated.

"Normally you'd spend the holidays with other couples and families and all of a sudden you find that people don't know which spouse they should invite. And so a lot of times you don't get invited to -- anything," says Emery.

Dr. David Kaplan is a counselor based in Northern Virginia who specializes in divorce. He says one of the toughest things about the holidays after a divorce is the loss of family rituals.

"Well, it's time for new rituals. What kind of new rituals can you set up now to celebrate the holidays in a different way?" says Kaplan.

Carol Randolph founded a support group for separated and divorced people -- with members throughout Metro D.C.

"Sometimes it can be helpful to just get out of Dodge. Go somewhere totally different where you don't have the pull of 'what was and what isn't' dragging you down," says Randolph.

Emery, Kaplan and Randolph all agree divorced people shouldn't stay home alone on the holidays.

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