Is marriage counseling worth trying before filing for divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | Divorce

Most people don’t rush into divorce. Instead, they contemplate every alternative option before deciding to end a marriage. Even in cases involving infidelity and abuse, they may hope to work through the issue and repair the marital relationship.

Marital counseling or couples therapy is a common tool utilized by those in struggling marriages. Some people treat counseling like a panacea that can solve every marital issue. Others are quite skeptical and believe that counseling never works.

The data about counseling is a bit misleading

Couples counseling involves people sitting down jointly and sometimes separately with a therapist to talk about the state of their relationship. Many counseling websites and professionals reference a 70% success rate when discussing the benefits of marital counseling. However, people need to look relatively closely at that figure to actually understand it.

The claim is not that 70% of couples who attend marital counseling preserve their relationships. Instead, therapists assert that 70% of participants report that they derived emotional benefits from the counseling. In some cases, those benefits may or may not include greater clarity about the need for a divorce.

Many married couples attempt counseling. Modern research estimates that just under half of all married couples will attend joint counseling sessions at some point in their relationships. Some of those couples may learn new communication and conflict-resolution techniques that improve their relationships.

Others may eventually reach the conclusion that their relationship is past the point of no return. In many cases, the communication skills and emotional regulation techniques taught during counseling can benefit those in high-conflict marriages, including those preparing for divorce, even if the counseling doesn’t actually change anything about the marriage itself.

Counseling can potentially benefit those who would like to negotiate an uncontested divorce even if they have already determined that the end of their marriage is inevitable. Therapy can also benefit those who must co-parent together after the end of a marriage, as they may need to find ways to navigate that relationship without causing unnecessary stress for their children.

Ultimately, every couple is unique. What works for one may or may not work for another. There is no right or way to approach marital struggles. With that said, seeking counseling and legal guidance are always options and they could potentially help in one way or another.

FindLaw Network