What is divorce counseling and why would I want that?
First, recent research shows that even after entering the legal process for divorce, approximately 30% of individual parents with minor children have hopes for their marriage and interest in help with reconciling. Additionally, about 30% of couples coming into therapy are what we call “mixed agenda” couples where one person is leaning out of the marriage and one person wants to save it. At the time of filing for divorce, most couples are split on wanting the divorce.
So, before even deciding you might want to divorce, let me recommend Discernment Counseling to determine if you can get both partners on the same page with regard to either an all-out attempt at reconciliation or a divorce. Discernment Counseling is neither divorce counseling nor marriage counseling but is a short term process all its own to help the mixed agenda become unified one way or the other.
Second, once a couple (with children) has determined that divorce is going to proceed, it’s really vitally important to obtain some counseling PRIOR TO making a move to separate or talk to the children so that the process can be handled in the best possible way for the children’s sake. Generally, family and friends will choose a “side” and even if they love the children of the family dearly, may forget to keep their interests above all else. Divorce counseling is a way to attempt to approach the divorce in the least combative way possible, and encompasses everything from the planning of how to best tell the children to determining parenting plans or living arrangements afterward. The focus is on the best interests of the child, not necessarily resolving the couple’s old conflicts although some couples find they can come to some peaceful closure through divorce counseling.
Finally, in the process of divorce, it’s not uncommon for the children involved to have some difficulties with their parents ending the family arrangement as they know it. Divorce counseling often includes family counseling once the children have been notified and it’s a place for the children to safely work through their emotions resulting from the divorce. BOTH parents need to be in agreement about how that family counseling will proceed; it can include both parents with the children, the children alone, or the children with each parent separately or a combination of all options.
Divorce Recovery is therapy with the focus on moving beyond the divorce. Typically it is for the individual adult once the divorce has been filed or completed to work through feelings about the ending of the marriage and moving on. In addition, it is not uncommon for children to need counseling following a divorce as they work through what it means for them, for their relationships with their parents, and feelings that may be difficult to manage that result.