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Should I go for marriage counselling?

It sometimes occurs during divorce proceedings that one of the parties believes that the marriage relationship has not broken down irretrievably, and that with proper counselling the marriage can be saved.

When that person is served a divorce summons, he/she will then instruct his/her attorney in their response to the summons to allege that the marriage has not broken down irretrievably. The attorney would then also make the averment that if the court does however finds that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, then his/her client would seek a decree of divorce incorporating certain relief, relating to maintenance, care of the minor child(ren), assets, etc.

couple at a marriage counselling session

The advantage of counselling is that this is your best chance to save the marriage, and if the counselling is not successful then this is evidence that you should maybe proceed with the divorce. I would recommend counselling specifically in situations where the parties have been married for a long time, and there are minor children involved. A couple for example who have been married for ten years and have three minor children should be more encouraged to go for counselling than a couple who have only been married for two years and have no minor children.

Normally one party may be reluctant to get counselling specifically if he/she feels that they are the “guilty party” in the supposed breakdown in the marriage. Counselling would require dramatic changes in the way the parties communicate with each other. In certain situations counselling may however help you to make changes in the relationship, but this may not be enough to save the marriage.

Couples very often for the sake of their children or for the sake of financial security do nothing when their marriage is in trouble. In such a situation they may also believe that they would be spared the pain and expense of a divorce. This is not the best solution, as it may lead to the parties resenting each other.

If a client tells me that there has been no serious misconduct on the part of either party, such as alcohol or drug abuse, extramarital affairs or domestic violence and abuse then I would also suggest marriage counselling, as the marriage does not prima facie appear to have broken down irretrievably. Should the counselling not be successful, then the parties should consider a divorce.


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