If you’re separated or contemplating a divorce in North Carolina, you’re likely struggling with complex feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, depression and fear about what the future holds. When you make an appointment with a divorce lawyer, you come looking for answers to those questions. A good attorney will advise you on the legalities regarding divorce and separation in your state, but may also suggest that you speak with a marriage counselor to help you cope with the emotional aspects of divorce.
Many people brush off divorce counseling because they believe it will be a sign of weakness, or that there’s no point because the marriage is already a lost cause. Others say that there’s no reason to pursue marriage counseling because their spouse refuses to participate. But marriage counseling is not just about trying to “fix” a failing relationship, and it is certainly not about “fixing” your spouse. It’s about helping you develop strategies to handle the weeks, months and years following a divorce. It doesn’t matter whether every aspect of your split is mutual and amicable. You will still be dealing with new financial circumstances, custody agreements, living arrangements and other seemingly insignificant details that, in reality, can trigger unexpected emotional responses.
Another reason that marriage counseling makes sense is because divorce is not always the answer. Remember, you got married because you loved each other and envisioned a long-term future together. It is not necessarily wise to throw that foundation away without at least trying to see if the marital issues can be resolved. Keep in mind that this does not automatically apply to all marriages, especially in cases where one spouse is violent. In those situations, it is advisable to leave the home immediately. Decisions about marriage counseling can come later, but your first priority is making sure that you (and your children, if that applies) are safe from abuse.
There are many different sources where you can obtain marriage counseling in North Carolina. You may find that spiritual counseling is the best way to address your marital problems and can seek that through your church, synagogue or other place of worship. There are always psychologists and mental health professionals who specialize in couples therapy. If cost is a concern, you might check with your benefits program through your employer. Many companies can connect employees with marriage counselors for several free sessions of therapy, which can at least help you experiment with whether such services would be beneficial. Remember that it may take one or two sessions, or even meeting with more than one counselor, before you find someone who may help you.
Even if you ultimately conclude after counseling sessions that your marriage is irretrievably broken, at least you may find solace in knowing that you explored possible solutions and have learned coping mechanisms as you work with your family law attorney in North Carolina during divorce proceedings.