courtroom, child custodyIllinois courts may require both parents and children to undergo counseling during the divorce process. Court ordered counseling can help parents and children resolve issues and move forward in a positive, healthy direction. Counseling may be ordered by the court if a parenting agreement is violated if the court feels the children’s safety is in danger, or if any of the parties to the divorce, including the children or their guardian ad litem, feel it is necessary and request it.

Counseling Options

Courts may order divorce counseling to help parents resolve issues in the relationship that can negatively affect the outcome of the proceedings. They may also order family counseling to help resolve issues between parents and children that occurred either prior to the divorce, or as a result of the divorce. The courts may also order parenting counseling to help parents better understand how to meet the needs of their children during and after divorce. Counseling is highly effective at helping parents learn how to parent after the divorce is finalized.

Counseling is Confidential

Many parents and children are concerned about whether what they say during a counseling session will affect the outcome of the divorce. This is especially apparent during hotly contested divorces. Illinois law specifically states that what is disclosed in counseling sessions is confidential between the parties and counselor. However, there is an exception for information that involves sexual, physical, or mental abuse. In situations where the counselor believes children are in danger of suffering abuse, they are required to disclose this information to the court

Counseling & Child Custody

Information gathered during court ordered counseling can be used to determine primary custody and parenting time. When counseling is used to determine custody, the court appointed counselor will conduct interviews, administer psychological tests, and may use additional information such as information from family members, teachers, etc. in making a recommendation to the court. Child custody lawyers in Illinois work closely with parents during this process to ensure their rights are protected and that the needs of their children are fully considered by the courts prior to the determination of custody and parenting responsibilities.

Who Covers Counseling Costs

Counseling costs are usually shared between the divorcing spouses. However, the court has the discretion to determine the share each parent is responsible for. In some cases, the court may require the party requesting the counseling to cover the full cost of the counseling sessions.