Legal Divorce Counseling

What is divorce counseling?

Divorce counseling offered through The Simmons Law Firm is a mediation process carefully designed to peacefully guide spouses through the separation and divorce process. In divorce counseling a licensed attorney will discuss with both spouses on a level playing field as to their rights and the likely outcome in a divorce trial. By having a licensed attorney who is not representing either party, both spouses can rely on the fact that they are receiving unbiased and honest advice. It is the direct and honest communication from the attorney to both spouses that allows the spouses to reach their own agreement, despite that difficult circumstances that have led them to this point. This is what makes divorce counseling the best option for the right spouses.

The Simmons Law Firm, PC expanded its divorce practice to include divorce counseling to separating spouses after practicing divorce law for many years because in many divorces spouses cause themselves so much unnecessary financial and emotional suffering by failing to reach an agreement prior to the trial. This is the critical element that divorcing spouses should understand ahead of a divorce trial: in most cases the judge will try to create a court order that is fair to both spouses and that usually means that both spouses may not be fully satisfied with the result. Divorce counseling recognizes this reality and encourages and advises separating spouses of how they can fashion an agreement between themselves that works for both spouses. This saves the spouses money, time, and heartache and allows them both to take ownership over their agreement instead of having a situation imposed on them by a Judge.

What is the difference between divorce counseling and my spouse or myself hiring a separate attorney for a divorce?

When a person hires an attorney to represent them in a divorce, that attorney is required by the profession to act as that person's advocate and the hired attorney does not owe any responsibility or loyalty to their client's spouse. While appropriate for deeply contested divorces, this arrangement frequently leads to distrust between otherwise cooperative spouses and frequently adds unnecessary fuel to the fire. In addition, clients should be aware that the more conflict that exists in a divorce usually means higher divorce fees for the spouses' attorneys. This unnecessary conflict can be avoided with legal divorce counseling.

Divorce counseling avoids unnecessary conflict with a resolution-driven process to conclude the divorce fairly and by agreement. With divorce counseling, neither spouse is hiring a separate attorney to act as their advocate. Instead, a licensed attorney will communicate with both spouses together and advise them of their options for (1) asset and debt distribution, (2) child custody and family time arrangements, and (3) the likely outcome for both couples if they proceeded with a contested divorce trial.

Is divorce counseling right for my spouse and me?

Even when handling deeply contested divorces, The Simmons Law Firm has long advised clients that if they are able to agree to the separation, division of property, and child custody arrangements then they will each save money, time, and heartache. Nonetheless, divorce counseling is not the correct path for all separating spouses. Divorce counseling may be right for you and your spouse if any of the following apply…

  • Both spouses are committed to saving money, time, and heartache by reaching a fair agreement and pursuing an uncontested divorce;
  • Both spouses have open lines of calm communication;
  • Both spouses have moved beyond blaming the other spouse and arguing over who is "at fault;"
  • The spouses own property together, especially real estate, or the spouses have children together1;

1Because the goal of divorce counseling is to guide spouses towards an agreement regarding children and marital property, in cases where spouses do not have children together and there is not a lot of marital property to be distributed between them then other options for divorce may be more appropriate than legal divorce counseling.

How does divorce counseling work?

The Simmons Law Firm, PC provides divorce counseling for separating spouses for a flat fee. The flat fee includes up to five one-hour counseling sessions with both spouses, the completion of a separation agreement, completion of the divorce through the court system, and the necessary information gathering and processing to make the counseling effective.

If we are able to reach an agreement, then counseling would be considered a success and we would move forward with completing the divorce process through the court system.

If we are unable to reach an agreement after the five one-hour counseling sessions, then counseling would come to an end and the spouses would have to pursue their divorce through different means. It is important to note, however, that because The Simmons Law Firm, PC acts as a neutral adviser to both spouses during counseling, the spouses would need to find another law firm or attorney to represent them in a future divorce trial. (Depending on the circumstances, purchasing additional counseling sessions may be an option for spouses who are close to an agreement following five counseling sessions).

What are the benefits of divorce counseling?

  • Saving money;
  • Saving time;
  • Spaing oneself from heartache;
  • Easing transition for children of the spouses;
  • Preservation of the co-parenting relationship when children are involved;
  • Preservation of a cooperative relationship between the spouses;

What is the success rate of divorce counseling?

Divorce counseling can be very successful for the right spouses. It is important for the spouses to discuss whether they are committed to achieving an agreement with the guidance of a neutral third party before committing to divorce counseling. By making the decision to pursue divorce counseling, the spouses have already taken a very big step in reaching an agreement and as a result the vast majority of spouses who pursue divorce counseling with The Simmons Law Firm, PC reach an agreement and conclude their divorce peacefully.