While divorce proceedings are relatively easy to instigate these days when compared with many years ago, experienced family lawyers will tell you there are still certain rules and regulations in place to make sure the decision to divorce is not an impulsive one that may be regretted at some later date. While divorce is necessary in some cases, it does bring with it a whole new set of problems when there are children of the union.
When people who have been married less than two years want to file for a divorce it is essential – and a legal requirement – that they go to counselling first. Their application for divorce will not be heard unless counselling has been tried and failed to accomplish a satisfactory ending to the problems. However, it is often the case that one party may refuse to attend counselling. In this case the other party may go alone or simply request permission of the court to file for divorce.
In certain cases such as where there is abuse, or where there has been an obvious and long separation, you don’t have to also file a counselling certificate, but may request special permission from the court to file for the divorce immediately. So you don’t have to wait for the marriage to have reached over two years, especially if you don’t feel safe.
When counselling is undertaken, a trained and experienced family counsellor will see each of the parties separately at first. Only then will it be decided whether it is safe and appropriate for them to be counselled together. If there has been abuse or if one party fears there will be, the counsellor will continue to see each one separately.
The same family caseworker will remain with the couple until the problems are resolved or until the divorce has gone though and they will also need to appear in court to give the judge official details of the counselling and other information that may need to be taken into consideration. This helps to alleviate some of the stress and ensure there is continuance.
During the process, this case worker will be able to refer you to any other services, programmes or agencies that may be needed.
No one gets married with the idea of getting divorced, but often they don’t take the time to get to know each other properly first and so find that they have completely different ideas on the way the relationship should progress, and the way each one should behave. If they go to counselling to sort such things out, it gives the relationship a chance of working out; especially important when there are children.
That is why the courts require you to undergo counselling before applying for a divorce. You may find ways to deal with the problems before they escalate into an unmanageable trauma.