If you find yourself faced with the unfortunate circumstances of the end of a marriage, you likely have many questions about how to proceed next. When you were planning your marriage, you weren’t planning your divorce. You have probably heard tales of mandatory marriage counseling and might wonder if this is your fate as well. The answer is maybe. While counseling is not required federally before moving forth with the dissolution of a marriage, the judge may order it, depending on a few factors, explains a divorce lawyer.
What State Do You Live In?
Court-ordered marriage counseling before the finalization of a divorce is rare these days. If both parties wish to end the marriage, it is even rarer still. Nonetheless, there are circumstances in which a judge may still order it. If children are involved, it is much more likely. The reasons judges may mandate counseling vary from state to state; usually, it is that they see an opportunity to redeem the relationship. Sometimes it is ordered simply to aid in the court proceedings and promote a less hostile environment. A local divorce lawyer can guide you through your own state’s laws.
How Long Have You Been Married?
Even if you aren’t ordered into counseling, you may still have to wait for your divorce. Many states impose a waiting period on the couple. The idea is that perhaps the divorce rate would be lower if people weren’t making rash decisions about divorce. The waiting period can work alone as a cooling-off period, or in conjunction with court-ordered marriage counseling. Most states are more concerned with the length of residency of the couple. In some states, each member must have lived in the state for 180 days before proceeding. No-fault divorces always have the longest waiting periods but are less likely for counseling to be mandated.
Do You or Your Spouse Want To Reconcile?
If you or your spouse wants to try to repair the marriage, there is a much greater chance that you will be ordered into conciliation. Some states require that if one member wants to salvage the relationship, the couple must seek therapy before a divorce will be granted.
While mandatory marital counseling before the cessation of marriage is quite uncommon, each state has its own unique mandates. Law is rapidly changing, and family law is no exception. If you find yourself in a position in which divorce is imminent and you have questions, contact a divorce lawyer to provide you with answers.