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Can a court order me to go to counseling during my divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce proceedings are often very stressful for the entire family, and people understandably worry about what the process will involve. There are some people who simply want to minimize conflict for their family, and there are others worried about how long the divorce might take or how expensive it will become. Many people just want to get the dissolution process over with as soon as possible.

The idea that the Ohio family courts could effectively compel someone to attend counseling may seem inappropriate, but there are scenarios in which people may end up going to family counseling despite their aversion to the process because of requirements imposed by a judge overseeing a divorce or custody case.

What Ohio law says

There are numerous situations in which a judge may decide that some kind of counseling might be necessary during marital dissolution proceedings. Often, such situations involved children and parents who need to work on their relationship so that they can share custody.

However, judges can order counseling services in any divorce case, such as one where one spouse wants to reconcile and the other is intent on divorce. Any married couple may have to attempt counseling services for up to 90 days before proceeding with a divorce.

Families going through divorces with children may have to attend family therapy sessions instead. Divorces and custody negotiations complicated by substance abuse or domestic violence may have to attend counseling sessions. Not only can a judge order these services, but they can potentially make one spouse specifically responsible for paying for the counseling.

Voluntary counseling can also be beneficial

For those embroiled in some kind of custody dispute or a particularly contentious divorce, being proactive about getting certain kinds of help can actually be a smart move. A parent already undergoing individual counseling will be able to inform a judge of their current treatment, which could influence what a judge orders and also how they perceive the parents involved in the case.

Those who are willing to admit their prior mistakes and take the necessary steps to learn improved parenting and communication skills will have an easier time advocating for their parental rights in the Ohio family courts. Preparing for the possible challenges in an Ohio divorce, such as compulsory counseling, while working with an experienced legal professional can help those who feel nervous about a pending family law matter.


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