By law, Arizona does not require marriage counseling before granting divorce, but there are many divorce situations where the spouses have to undergo some type of counseling. One spouse, for example, may request the court for conciliation services. Another situation where marriage counseling is necessary is in a covenant divorce.
Let’s take a look at these Arizona divorce scenarios where you may be required to attend counseling. For legal advice more specific to your case, please reach out to our experienced divorce attorneys.
Will Marriage Counseling Be Required in My Arizona Divorce?
Marital counseling is not a requirement in the Arizona divorce process. However, your spouse may be able to ask the court for Conciliation Services, and if the court grants this, both you and your spouse must attend.
Conciliation Services is offered for free by the Superior Court for people who hope to reconcile with their spouse or iron out their disputes. This service is facilitated by the court’s professional conciliation staff.
A spouse may petition the court for Conciliation Services before divorce is filed or while the divorce case is ongoing. If divorce hasn’t been filed and one party has requested Conciliation Services, neither party may file for divorce for 60 days. On the other hand, if a divorce case is already pending when Conciliation is requested, the divorce case is transferred from Family Court to Conciliation Court, subject to the Conciliation Court’s requirements.
Going through Conciliation Services doesn’t automatically mean you will be reconciled with your spouse. While this service does help some couples get back together and not go through with their divorce, many other couples find that reconciliation is not for them and thus move forward with marriage dissolution.
Is Conciliation Services The Same as Marriage Counseling?
No, the court emphasizes that Conciliation Services is not marriage counseling nor marriage therapy. Instead, it’s a venue for the spouses to communicate and make decisions for themselves. The couple may decide, for example, to go through voluntary counseling after Conciliation Services is done. Or they may find that they cannot reconcile after all. In this case, the divorce will be transferred from Conciliation Court back to Family Court for finalization.
Can I Get Marriage Counseling While Going Through Arizona Divorce?
Yes, you and your spouse may voluntarily go through marital counseling even while your divorce case is ongoing. In Arizona, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period from the day divorce is filed. Even an uncontested divorce cannot be granted within those 60 days. This waiting period allows couples to explore counseling, reconciliation, or mediation. Even after the 60 days have passed, you may still undergo out-of-court dispute resolution to try to resolve marital issues.
Do I Need Marriage Counseling for a Covenant Marriage Divorce?
Yes, marital counseling is required if you wish to dissolve your Arizona covenant marriage. This type of marriage is stricter in its divorce requisites, including a limited number of valid divorce grounds and a mutual agreement between the two parties to get divorced. The couple must show solid proof that they attempted to resolve their marriage difficulties, and part of that is going through marriage counseling.
Call a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney in Arizona
If your spouse wants to halt your divorce and get counseling, or if you’re the spouse who wishes to stop the divorce, it’s best to get a lawyer’s help. The divorce attorneys at Goldman Law have over 25 years of combined experience, which has led to favorable results for many of our clients. We’re knowledgeable in Arizona divorce laws, Family Court rules, and Conciliation Court proceedings, and we’re ready to help you navigate this area of law.
Talk to us about your divorce counseling concern. Call us at (602) 698-5520 to schedule your consultation.