Dealing with Court Ordered Counseling
In many states if one party asks for it, the court will order post marital counseling for you and your ex. Some states require it as a course of your divorce whether or not someone asks for it. To many, this may seem like a huge waste of time. To some it may provide some help with communication or at least a forum where some communication can occur.
Getting through each session can be trying but you can make it easier by coming prepared with a list of topics you would like to discuss rather than allowing the counselor or your ex to completely lead the way. A good counselor will actually appreciate this proactive approach. The counselor does not know you or your ex so it will take weeks for her to pull the issues out unless you move it forward with a list of topics. Once you do this, it is likely that your ex will bring his own list next time, so always be on your best behavior and do your best not to be a cause of communication problems and issues.
To make your list do not use it as a way to attack your ex. Instead use it as a way to foster communication with your ex. This is not a time to bring up the past. You are divorced therefore you can only bring up issues that affect the future. “Why did my ex leave me for that woman” is irrelevant at this point. What is done, is done. “I want to communicate about the children’s schedules with my ex without yelling” is something for the list. This is about the future and is appropriate. Anything that can change or affect the future in a better way is something you bring up. “I want my ex to quit telling the kids that I am a cheater” is something to bring up, “I want my ex to call me when there are changes in the visitation 48 hours in advance and to stop sending messages via the children” is something to talk about in front of the counselor.
During the time between visits try the tips your counselor offers keeping note of how it works. This will help your counselor with his approach. If you keep good notes void of accusations and approach each session with an attitude of how can “I” make life better, how can “I” change you will get the most out of the counseling. Actually trying to make things better as discussed during the counseling sessions will take everything even farther and before you know it, you and your ex will not need the help of the professional anymore as you’ll both have moved past the issues which required it in the first place.