Let's face it: divorce is intimidating. When you think about all the steps involved in divorce, you might feel yourself backing out of your decision.
For many couples, discernment counseling is the best way to become more confident about the decision. If you have ever heard of discernment counseling, you may have confused it with marriage counseling. In marriage counseling, the provider is operating under the idea that both partners are willing to put in the effort to make a relationship work. Discernment counseling works a bit differently.
Discernment counseling helps couples determine if divorce is the right choice for their relationship. Ultimately, this form of counseling tries to get both individuals on the same page in just a few sessions, compared to the potential long-term nature of marriage counseling.
Are you unsure if discernment counseling is right for you? Continue reading to see if you are a good candidate.
Who Should Attend Discernment Counseling?
Discernment counseling benefits many types of couples. The main requirement is that both parties want to further examine their relationship before deciding to divorce. For instance, you might want to examine issues like custody or visitation during your separation.
One of the biggest benefits is for couples in which one person is leaning toward divorce and the other wants to remain married. Talking out the issues with the marriage can help partners agree on a course of action.
Additionally, discernment counseling lays the groundwork for post-divorce family therapy. Some couples have already decided they will divorce but need extra counseling so they can be good co-parents to the children they share. Each individual can establish boundaries and expectations in counseling.
Sometimes, couples use discernment counseling to discuss how to divide assets without going to court. When you want to have an uncontested divorce or go through mediation, discernment counseling is a great precursor.
What Are the Outcomes of Discernment Counseling?
Discernment counseling helps couples come to solid conclusions about their marriage. They may stay married or opt to divorce, but sometimes couples agree to wait for about six months and then readdress the marriage in another discernment counseling session.
The goal of discernment counseling is to find clarity and to decide whether to divorce with confidence. You are not necessarily fixing any marital problems in this type of therapy. If one spouse does not want to stay married, you should consider discernment counseling rather than marriage counseling.
Still, discernment counseling does have a therapeutic purpose. Individuals who undergo this counseling can learn how to avoid many of the most common mistakes that likely led to the downfall of their marriage. They can apply this knowledge to new relationships.
Should You Hire an Attorney While Attending Discernment Counseling?
You are wise to hire an attorney when you are seriously considering divorce even if you are already attending discernment counseling sessions. Hiring a lawyer can help things seem much less complicated, and you can better understand the options available to you.
Legal counsel is a huge benefit for anybody going through a divorce. When you have a lawyer, you can make decisions with a clear head. Your lawyer also ensures that you have fair representation in court or mediation during the divorce proceedings.
Plus, even if you are skipping the step of discernment counseling, you should consider hiring an attorney. Your lawyer may even recommend discernment counseling as a way to prevent a lengthy court case.
When you are struggling with the decision to divorce, call Mary E. Papcke, Attorney at Law. Mary has experience handling family law and divorce. Set up a free in-office consultation today to discuss your legal needs and figure out the next steps.