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What You Should Know About Court Ordered Marriage Counseling

As society begins to understand the stress associated with divorce and the long-lasting effects the split can have on future relationships and the emotions of children, courts are beginning to intervene. In an effort to see if the relationship can be saved, some advocates and judges are requesting marriage counseling prior to finalizing the decree. Here are some frequently asked questions about court-ordered marriage counseling.

Can the Court Order Counseling?

Yes, the court can request that couples attend marriage counseling reconciliation sessions. Sometimes the judge will issue the ruling because one party is desperate to save the marriage, while at other times, the court may believe there is a chance the partners can work through the differences.

What Is Court Ordered Counseling?

When the court orders a married couple to attend counseling, it is not a choice the partners can make to refuse. The order is a mandate citing the number of times the couple must attend the sessions, the duration of the counseling meetings, and when the judge expects to hear back from the therapist. It is typically up to the court to decide which party will pay for the counseling therapy sessions. If you have questions, ask your family lawyer for clarification.

How Many Types of Court Order Counseling Are There?

Counseling can be roughly divided into two categories – pre-divorce and post-divorce. However, there are many types of counseling programs available in each group. There are sessions in family counseling, reconciliation therapy, and parenting education, just to name a few. Depending on the relationship status and the circumstances surrounding the divorce, the court may demand several types of counseling.

Are Court Ordered Counseling Sessions Common?

Some states require therapy sessions before granting a divorce, while other states allow the judge or mediator to decide if the marriage can be saved. If there are children involved, counseling is required more often than with childless marriages because of the detrimental effects a divorce can have on the children. If a child’s anxiety is apparent, the evaluation almost always leads to counseling or therapy sessions to help ease the child’s pain and transition the family into a long-term working relationship centered around the young ones.

If you are considering seeking a divorce, you should be aware the courts may ask you to attend court-ordered marriage counseling. Ask your family lawyer if your state-mandates the therapy sessions so you can let your children know what to expect. Consult with a family lawyer to find out more.

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