Divorce can be a difficult time in anyone’s life and may be unwanted by you or your spouse. In some cases, it might not be wanted by either of you, but you just don’t see another way to improve your lives. Whatever your unique situation may be, there are rare instances that a judge might require you both to attend a certain amount of marriage counseling if they think a reconciliation is possible. In some states, if one spouse asks for this, the state then must require it. Courts may also require other types of education or counseling depending on your needs and where you live.
In some states, there are certain grounds for divorce which the court will then request the marriage counseling for, such as irretrievable breakdown. The court will then ask you to complete a certain number of counseling sessions or to attend for a period of time, such as three months. The counselor then reports back to the court with your attendance record.
Likelihood of Required Counseling
Many states have no-fault divorce laws, which allow one spouse to file for divorce without the other spouse’s consent and with no grounds. Because of this, even if the unwilling spouse asks for counseling, the court does not have to do this. In more extreme cases, such as marriages with abuse involved, these are exempt from any required counseling.
It’s good to note that if you or your partner do not want the counseling, the chances of it working are far less. Effort from either of you cannot be measured by the court, so because you both will be putting forth the time and the money to do this, before asking for this, it is important to decide if it would be worth it.
Other Types of Required Counseling
Marriage counseling is less likely to be court-ordered than other types of counseling or education, such as:
Family counseling: When children are involved, these types of sessions help the whole family work through emotions and conflicts that may come up throughout a divorce. Anyone in the family can attend.
Divorce counseling: Marriage counseling is used to try to fix the marriage, where divorce counseling allows each spouse to express their feelings about the divorce in a healthy way. This helps to improve communication and decrease chances of conflict.
Parent education: It can be difficult to understand what children experience in a divorce. These educational classes help teach parents what to expect and how to work with their child’s best interests when deciding on child custody.
Whether you go through counseling or not, working with an experienced divorce lawyer in Fairfax, VA is important to ensuring your rights are protected and that the divorce is completed in the fairest way possible for both you and your ex.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into family law and if marriage counseling can be required.