05/09/2011 04:53 pm ET Updated Jul 09, 2011

How Can I Help? Supporting Your friend Through A Split

Your friend or family member has shared with you that his/her marriage is coming to an end. The big 'D' word -- divorce is happening. Almost every American adult will be called upon at some time to comfort or assist a friend or family member going through divorce. Yet it is a sticky subject, and for good reason. Your strong desire is to help that person in any way you can, but it is an ambiguous situation and you have legitimate concerns: Am I being asked to take sides? Am I being asked to decide who is right or wrong? Am I being asked to become involved in the couple's dispute? Will my actions or words tend to moderate the tensions and anger or fuel them?

There are some things you can do that will tend to help and some that could actually make things worse. Here are a few pointers.

How can I help?