Is Marriage Counseling a Required Part of Divorce in Florida?
Divorce is always a difficult process and there are many state laws that govern the process. For example, mediation is usually required in most Florida divorces. Once a couple starts learning about these laws, they often start wondering what else is required of them. Some people have already thought about marriage counseling before bringing up the subject of divorce, while others have no interest in it at all. So, if you are about to get a divorce, do you have to go through marriage counseling first?
Florida Law Does Not Require Marriage Counseling
Some states do require all couples to go to marriage counseling before they can get a divorce, but Florida is not one of them. Still, marriage counseling is a good idea for some couples. Marriage counseling can show people that they can work through their problems, and that they still love each other. However, marriage counseling only works when both people want it to and are active participants. If one individual is not open to the thought of counseling, it is not going to work, regardless of how eager the other party is.
A Judge Can Order Marriage Counseling
Although Florida law does not require all couples to go through marriage counseling before they can get a divorce, a family law Judge can still order it. Marriage counseling is usually only ordered when a divorce case goes to trial, and it is very rare for such an order to be issued when couples get an uncontested divorce. Even still, there are only two scenarios in which a Judge will order a divorcing couple to get a divorce. These are as follows:
- The grounds for divorce are disputed: Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means neither spouse has to accuse the other of being at fault for their marriage ending. The spouse that files must only state that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship and that there is no chance of reconciling. If the spouse that did not file divorce argues that there is a chance of saving the marriage, a Judge may order marriage counseling.
- There are children involved: When child custody, known as parenting and time-sharing in Florida, is involved in a Florida divorce, a Judge may order the couple to go through marriage counseling before granting a divorce. This cannot only potentially save the children from the stress of going through a divorce, but it can also provide an opportunity for the couple to learn how to peacefully co-parent even if they do decide to go ahead with the divorce.
In the event that a Judge does order marriage counseling, it is very important that both parties comply with the order. Failing to do so will have very serious consequences.
Our Family Lawyers in Orlando Can Help You Through the Process
If you are going through a divorce, our Orlando family lawyers at O’Mara Law Group can help you through the process and help you obtain the best possible outcome. Call us now at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.