Family Law Lawyer
People file for divorce for a wide range of reasons. It may come as a surprise to some, however, that courts do not always have to grant a divorce. In some cases, both spouses may have to consent to the separation. At other times, the judge may require the couple to attend marriage counseling before finalizing the divorce as a lawyer, can explain. Consider a few questions that may help you understand the purpose behind court-ordered marriage counseling and how it is carried out.
When Do Courts Require Marriage Counseling?
There are multiple situations that may compel a judge to mandate that a couple attend marriage counseling. First, judges often have the power to make a subjective assessment of the marital relationship. If the judge believes it can be salvaged, he or she may order counseling so the couple can reconcile and drop the petition for divorce. The particular reason a spouse gives for filing for divorce may make court-ordered counseling more or less likely.
A judge may also send a couple to counseling if one party does not consent to the divorce and wishes to work towards reconciliation. In some states, this is required if one spouse requests it.
Do You Really Have To Go to the Sessions?
If a judge orders you to attend marriage counseling, it’s very important that both you and your spouse attend. The court will know if you don’t, as the counselor is required to record your attendance. There may be legal or financial consequences for not going.
Who Pays for the Sessions?
The manner in which a couple must pay for court-ordered counseling sessions is entirely up to the judge. Note that a judge also decides how long your counseling will last. You may be required to attend regular sessions for a certain length of time, for instance. Alternatively, you may be ordered to go to a specific number of sessions.
Are There Other Types of Counseling the Court Can Order?
In reality, courts don’t mandate that couples attend marriage counseling very often. This may be due to the fact that counseling is typically only effective when both parties are fully invested. It is more common for a judge to order family counseling, divorce counseling, children’s counseling, or parental education classes. These sessions often aim to make the divorce process proceed as smoothly as possible for any kids involved.
If you are facing a possible divorce, be sure to consult a family law lawyer near you. These legal professionals may be able to walk you through the divorce or mediation process in a way that keeps your family as intact as possible.