When going through a divorce, the individuals involved may experience animosity, frustration and anger toward one another. The actions or language of each person involved can damage children caught in the middle.
In these situations, the court can mandate counseling for the couple seeking a divorce.
Court provisions under the law
In Ohio law, the court can order a couple to attend counseling when there is a request to dissolve a marriage. This could happen whether the couple seeks an annulment, divorce or legal separation. The law gives the court full authority to mandate counseling without any requests from the opposing parties, but the court can also make this decision if one or both parties request counseling. For some, the goal of counseling is an attempt at conciliation. If the notice of action involves children, the court could order family counseling for all involved.
Details for counseling mandates
There are no rules governing how long counseling must occur. The general requirement is for a reasonable period of time as determined by the court. It could last as long as 90 days if the situation needs it. The court also has the ability to name the conciliator for the counseling. Possibility individuals include:
- Family service agency
- Public or private marriage counselor
- Psychologist or another mental health doctor
- Conciliation judge
- Member of the clergy
- Community health service specialist
If the court orders counseling or conciliation, the individual providing the service must submit a status report to the court.
Until the court receives a status report, it will not make a decision concerning the requested dissolution action. Mandated counseling is an attempt to diffuse complex and tough family matters.