Is Marriage Counseling Required During Divorce?

Filing for divorce signals the end of a marriage and begins the legal process to restore you to a single person. Even if you see no hope of reconciliation, can a court require you and your spouse to attend marriage counseling as part of the divorce?

In some states, the court does have the authority to order a couple to attend counseling before moving forward with the divorce. The reasons for this requirement vary, but there are a few that more commonly predict whether some type of psychological evaluation will be ordered. Take a look at instances where a court is more likely to order you into a counseling session before granting your divorce.

Covenant Marriage

When you get married, the court expects that you have considered the implications of the union very seriously. A traditional marriage means a couple has obtained a marriage license and gets married. Some states offer something called a “covenant marriage.” While the end goal is the same, a legal union between two people, there are more elements that go into it. A couple seeking a covenant marriage devote time to pre-marital counseling. During these sessions, they make some agreements about what will happen in the case that they divorce. When a couple with a covenant marriage decides to split, the court will look back on their agreement and send them to marriage counseling. The incentive for getting a covenant marriage is usually financial. It costs less to obtain a marriage license.

Spousal Request

Many states offer those seeking a divorce to say that they believe the marriage is beyond repair and that the couple agrees it cannot be restored. There are times when the non-filing spouse may disagree and believes that the marriage can be saved. In a counter-petition, the spouse may present evidence as to why they feel like there are things that may help rebuild the union rather than destroying it. When one spouse gives a compelling argument for helping a marriage, the judge may decide to send them both to counseling. This usually means that a court-appointed psychologist will interview the couple, together and separately, as to their feelings on saving their bond.

You may believe that your marriage is beyond salvation, but if your spouse disagrees, you may go before a marriage counselor for help. An attorney, like a family attorney,  from Scroggins Law Group, may advocate or fight for counseling, but at the end of the day, the court gets to decide.