Can you make your spouse go to counseling before a divorce? 

| Mar 16, 2021 | Divorce |

Your spouse comes to you and asks for a divorce. You feel like the marriage can be saved, and you’d like to do so — both for your own sake and for your children. You tell your spouse that you’d like to go to counseling first and only get divorced if it doesn’t help. 

To your surprise, though, they don’t even want to consider it. They tell you that there is no way counseling can help and that they’re just going to file for divorce, no matter what you want. Can you make them try counseling first? 

Court-ordered counseling is quite rare

While many couples do choose counseling before a divorce, it is unlikely that you can force your spouse to go. While court-ordered counseling is technically possible in the United States, it is very rare and not used in every state. 

On the whole, the legal system tends to give adults the right to marry and divorce as they see fit. No one can be forced into a relationship that they want to end. If your spouse doesn’t want to stay married for any reason, they can pursue that. This is not the way that the laws have always worked — as surprising as that may seem for younger couples — but it is the way that they work now.

You cannot control your spouse’s decisions, though you can ask them to consider other options. 

Looking into your own options is wise

Once it becomes clear that your marriage is going to end, you also need to look into your own options and your rights. Often, the best way to diminish the emotional and financial consequences of a divorce on your life is through a heart-to-heart consultation with an experienced advocate.