Franks & Rechenberg, PC believes all persons we represent in divorces will benefit from counseling. Studies indicate three of the most stressful events in a person’s life are death of a close family member, divorce, and moving. Family law proceedings often involve two of the most stressful events in an individual’s life, so we urge you to be involved in regular counseling.
The importance of regular counseling is even more important in divorces in which child decision making responsibilities may be at issue. There are many reasons for this, and this article will only refer to several of these reasons. Perhaps the most significant reason counseling is important is that in decision making responsibilities proceedings, there will generally be a n evaluation by a mental health care professional. If you are in regular counseling, you should be able to relate much better with the mental health professional.
An additional advantage of regular counseling, in the context of contested decision making responsibilities proceedings, is that the evaluator will generally seek releases so he or she may consult with your counselor. Under Illinois law, generally, communications with your counselor are confidential. Therefore, you will have to decide whether to allow your counselor to consult with the evaluator. Nevertheless, in a number of divorces a parent’s counselor can become an advocate in the evaluation process.
The evaluator will often inquire as to whether there has been regular attendance at counseling. My firm’s experience is that regular attendance at counseling sessions inevitably is a positive for a parent in the middle of contested decision making responsibilities litigation. An additional advantage of counseling is that often the other parent will not be in regular counseling. I have seen divorces where a party’s failure to go to counseling has been seen as a negative factor by the evaluator when the evaluator made recommendations as to the best interest of the children.
I have also found counseling often assists with a client’s communication skills on the subject of decision making responsibilities. These communication skills are critical when parents go through a contested divorce. An example of the importance of communication skills is one of the significant statutory factors the court uses in determining decision making responsibilities, “the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.” Often in decision making responsibilities proceedings, one parent will focus upon the other parent instead of focusing on what is best for the child. There are communication skills that will assist you with working with your spouse, even when she may have hostility toward you. To the extent that you improve your communication skills during counseling, and to the extent that your spouse does not improve her skills, this will be a positive to a decision making responsibilities dispute.
A final advantage to your regularly attending counseling is that counseling is cost effective because it often will lower the amount of overall fees that would be spent in a divorce. Part of the reason that fees may be reduced is when we communicate, we can direct our efforts on matters that are more clearly pertinent to the management of your divorce.
It is not guaranteed that participating in counseling will be the critical factor if you are to prevail in contested child decision making responsibilities proceedings. Nevertheless, we recommend that you participate in regular counseling. Either you can obtain your own counselor or Franks & Rechenberg, PC can recommend one to you.
Contact Franks & Rechenberg, P.C., where we specialize in helping you defend your case.