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While the objective of marriage counseling is to keep a couple's marriage intact, divorce counseling helps families deconstruct a marriage with respect and dignity. Divorce can be a devastating event for adults, children, other family members, friends, and even pets! Divorce can uproot the foundation of family life and divorce counseling seeks to help individuals rebuild and improve their lives after a divorce.
Divorce counseling is an excellent investment for any family or individual who is experiencing the life changing aftermath of divorce. Divorce counseling can be extremely important when children are involved in the dissolution of marriage. Divorce counseling is also invaluable to people in highly conflicted families or those who are having a difficult time with the divorce process. Some legal experts even suggest that divorce counseling in these cases should be mandatory.
In some cases, divorcees have significant issues that need to be addressed and resolved after a divorce. The purpose of divorce counseling is to counsel and support individuals through these natural but difficult emotional responses to divorce. Often times the dissolution of a marriage is related to the emotional needs and problems of one or more individuals. Divorce counseling can be important in these situations as it functions to help these individuals through problematic emotions and behaviors, to separate emotional issues from practical ones, and to improve their overall emotional health.
Divorce counseling can also facilitate a more productive negotiations process during divorce proceedings. Sometimes divorce litigation can drag on indefinitely because of some dispute over property or some other issue. In many cases, the root of the argument stems not from the contested point itself, but from the hostility and anger possessed by one or both of the divorcees. Divorce counseling can help release individuals from their psychological restraints, grant them closure, and even some peace of mind.
Divorce counseling can be beneficial at any time after the divorce decision is made, whether that time is the very next day or years down the road. Divorce counseling can be helpful during the divorce process, allowing individuals to work out their problems directly with the help and guidance of an experience and qualified mental health practitioner. Divorce counseling has been shown to reduce both the time and monetary costs of divorce.
Divorce counseling is perhaps most crucial when children are involved. A University of Arizona study concluded that children who took part in counseling after divorce where three times less likely to develop problem behaviors in their teen years such as dropping out of school, abusing controlled substances, engaging in high risk sexual behaviors and developing emotional conditions. This study also found that children whose primary caretakers went through divorce counseling were also less likely to experience these and other problems.
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Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.