Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling: What If Only One Spouse Wants to Divorce?

Are you leaning towards divorce but your spouse is not?  Have you tried couple’s counseling but found that the pressure was all on you to change?  Do you want a time-limited, non-adversarial way to help you and your spouse determine whether it is time to divorce?  If so, you should look into discernment counseling.

Discernment counseling is a way for “mixed agenda” couples to determine what is next.  Mixed agenda refers to the frequent scenario where one spouse is leaning out of the marriage and the other is leaning in.  The couple comes together with a counselor to talk and determine whether they want to repair their marriage or divorce.

Hear from the Founder of Discernment Counseling

Dr. Bill Doherty, the founder of discernment counseling, discusses the method in the video below:

We at Family Diplomacy are happy to provide referrals to local discernment counselors.

What if You Learn That Both Can Move Forward with Divorce?

If you come to the conclusion that it is time divorce, do yourself and your family a favor: look into collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a private, non-adversarial form of dispute resolution.  Both you and your spouse have your own attorneys, and the attorneys are there solely to help you reach an out-of-court agreement.  This means that no time, energy, or money is spent on preparing for trial or trying to tear one another down.  You and the attorneys work only to help you reach an agreement so that you both can move forward in your lives without messing up your kids.  That’s it.

A Neutral Facilitator, generally with a background in family dynamics, communication, and/or childhood development, helps keep the focus on the future rather than arguments of the past.  Oftentimes, the Facilitator also helps draft a specially-tailored parenting plan that meets your kids’ needs.

A Neutral Financial Professional is also oftentimes involved to ensure transparency.  Many times a spouse thinks that the other spouse is hiding assets.  The Financial Professional can allay those concerns or uncover hidden assets.  He or she also can develop options that meet both clients’ future financial needs.

What Next?

If you are a mixed agenda couple, we can help you find a professional offering discernment counseling.  If, ultimately, it is time for divorce, we will stand by you through the collaborative divorce process.

Adam B. Cordover is co-author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on the collaborative process.  He now practices exclusively in private dispute resolution such as collaborative divorce, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services.