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Mandated Counseling in Texas Divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2016 | Firm News |

Did you know counseling could be mandated during the Texas divorce process? Couple’s counseling is generally a good investment to make before and even during a marriage. Before the wedding it can help future wives and husbands to learn more about one another’s personalities and what issues might arise in a marriage.  And better yet, how to best handle them- and one another. Counseling can also help couple’s broach often uncomfortable issues before they become a thorn in the union. Marriage counseling can help you resolve issues you never thought would be a part of your journey. Who knew when you first tied the knot that you had different ideas on how to deal with extended family, debt and teenagers (to name a few hot button issues)? In America today, only about 2/3 of all couples make it to their 10th anniversary. Counseling is also a great last resort to help save a faltering marriage. It is a wise stop before divorce proceedings when nothing else seems to be working. Under Section 6.505 of the Texas Family Code, a judge may have the right to mandate counseling during the divorce process in Texas. You might be thinking I want a divorce, what right does anyone have to tell me to stay married?  A judge might see it differently and think they have a valid reason why a divorce might not be necessary. Examples include, if neither spouse seems to truly want a divorce, the judge clearly sees options that could resolve the couple’s dispute other than divorce, or it would benefit a child greatly for the couple to remain married. Though court mandated counseling does occur in Texas divorce proceedings, it is rare. If court mandated counseling does occur, there is a 60-day waiting period in which the couple needs to schedule a session with a court-appointed counselor. The counselor is to report back their findings and decide if the couple has a chance to reconcile their differences without a divorce. “In the report, the counselor shall give only an opinion as to whether there exists a reasonable expectation of reconciliation of the parties and, if so, whether further counseling would be beneficial.” If counseling is ordered and there are children under the age of 18 years, counseling will include, “issues that confront children who are the subject of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.” If the counselor’s report states that a reconciliation is not at all reasonable, the divorce proceeding will continue after the 60-day waiting period. If the counselor finds that there is a reasonable chance of reconciliation, the court can order more sessions with court-appointed counselor for a period no longer than an 60 days. If the couple still wants to continue divorce proceedings after 60 days then they are free to do so. So, a court can order counseling but they can’t make you stay married. This all being said, therapy is a great resource for spouses and the children during this time, court mandated or not. Children can especially see the benefit as they adjust to their new life without their parents together. Hopefully, before divorce proceeding a couple has exhausted all other avenues including counseling. A good Texas divorce lawyer might see that marriage counseling or other alternatives can benefit you in the long run. Contact Puhl Law Group, P.C. if you are ready to consult with a Board Certified family law attorney now.

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