Can I request counseling before divorce?
In Arizona, only one spouse has to want a divorce in order to achieve it. (That statement does not apply to covenant marriage, read more about covenant divorce in Arizona.)
Oftentimes, the spouse not seeking the divorce would like to attempt counseling before the divorce is filed or finalized. However, there is no way to “force” the spouse that desires a divorce to seek counseling if they don’t want to attend.
To resolve this conflict, the Superior Court offers a service called Conciliation Counseling to married couples who are either considering or in the midst of a divorce. Either party can filed a Petition for Conciliation Counseling either before or after the divorce petition has been filed.
If a divorce is not yet pending and a request for Conciliation Counseling has been filed, neither party can file for divorce for 60 days. If a divorce petition has already been filed, the divorce case will be transferred from the Family Law Court to the Conciliation Court and the divorce cannot be finalized until the provisions of Conciliation Counseling are met. Either way, both parties will be required to attend a private, confidential counseling session with a professional counselor. The purpose of Conciliation Counseling is to assist the couple is making an informed decision about their relationship. No coercion is used to try to force reconciliation.
However, if during the counseling session the couple jointly expresses a desire to attempt to reconcile before moving forward with divorce, they will be referred to a non-Court counseling service and their divorce case (if filed) will be placed on hold. If either party indicates they do not want to attempt reconciliation, no further counseling will take place and the divorce case will transfer back to the Family Law Court for finalization.