If you’re worried about being ordered to marriage counseling by the court before you get a divorce, here’s what to know about court-ordered marriage counseling, as a divorce attorney, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, can explain to you. In some jurisdictions, the spouse who didn’t file for divorce can request the judge to make the two of you attend counseling before the divorce is granted. Some states let the judge decide whether to order it or not. You must attend these sessions before you can get the divorce. Although this was common many years ago, it’s very rare that a judge will make two spouses attend counseling.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Marriage counseling only works when both parties want to put in the effort. When one person has decided on divorce, the marriage is probably over. Counseling would likely be a waste of time and money, without really accomplishing anything. In domestic violence cases, marriage counseling can be one more way to abuse the victim. Most states have exemptions for domestic violence victims to attend counseling.
Can the Court Make You Go Through Classes as Part of Your Divorce?
Although court-ordered marriage counseling is rare in divorce cases, there are other types of counseling or education that may be required. For example, Texas has a provision related to parent education. Many of the family courts in Texas require the completion of a course that relates to the divorce and how it affects children and custody. Parties do not have to take the course together, but the judge wants to see that the parents understand how the divorce may affect the parent-child relationship.
Judges also have the authority to require mediation in a divorce. This isn’t traditionally counseling, but it can be helpful in teaching spouses to work together to find solutions that fit the family rather than having a judge determine the issues. Divorce counseling can help spouses that are divorcing learn to resolve conflicts and to communicate to make the divorce go more smoothly. Judges may order divorce counseling if they feel as if it might help.
Some divorces are very contentious, while others are amicable. If one spouse wants counseling but the other doesn’t, it’s not a given that the judge will require it. Knowing the specific laws in your state can help you understand what a judge may or may not do. Make an appointment to talk to a divorce lawyer who can help you understand the laws in your state that govern counseling before a divorce.