How Divorce Counseling Can Make The Process Easier

By: Gabrielle Seunagal

Updated December 22, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown

Marriage counseling isn't just for when you want to stay together. Believe it or not, divorce counseling exists and can serve as a truly effective service for those who want to make the transition as smooth as possible. Divorce is rarely easy and can often be quite upsetting and even traumatic. For this reason, having a counselor to help guide you can prove to be of the utmost value.

Sometimes it's beneficial to go through counseling even if one or both partners would like to end the marriage. Why? Because divorce counseling both allows you to make sure divorce is the right answer to your marital problems, as well as helping you learn to make it through the divorce process with as little conflict as possible. Divorce can be an extremely stressful time, but you can face it with maturity, knowing you're making the right choice for you and your former partner, instead of fighting over every detail.

Divorce counseling goes by many names, including discernment counseling, pre divorce therapy, and marital counseling. Through these different types of counseling couples can get help through the entire process, from the decision to divorce to post marriage counseling. Let’s take a deeper look at discernment counseling, the benefits and drawbacks of discernment counseling, and the process of discernment counseling.

Types Of Divorce Counseling

We Can Help You Develop Healthier Relationships
Feel More In Control Of Your Life - Click Here To Sign Up
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.

There are two primary types of divorce counseling. There is pre-divorce counseling for helping you navigate the divorce process and all the emotions that go along with it, and there is post-divorce counseling, which is individual therapy that allows you to cope with the recent changes to your life.

Pre-divorce counseling helps you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse learn to talk to each other civilly despite the differences, disagreements, or hurts that led to a divorce. This type of counseling is especially useful for couples with children. Divorce itself is not the primary cause of trauma to kids with divorced parents. But parents who disrespect each other openly can be quite damaging to their children. After all, no matter what you and your ex-spouse think of each other, your kids most likely love both of you and consider each of you to be a part of themselves. So, pre divorce therapy is a tool which, when applied properly can benefit not only you and your ex-spouse, but your children as well; discernment counseling is beneficial to the entire family.


Post-divorce counseling can cover a variety of areas in your life, not just the way you now relate to your former spouse. For those without children, you may be able to choose not to interact with your ex-partner, starting a completely new life without them. But if you and your ex have children together, then like it or not, you probably will have to learn to continue to interact with them for quite a while.

That being said, post-divorce counseling is more about getting your own new life together. It may cover coping with other people's new perspectives of you after divorcing, and dealing with criticism from friends and family members. It may cover the new financial stressors or housing difficulties you experience as you go from sharing living expenses to taking care of your finances separate from your former spouse. Post-divorce counseling can help you to cope with any number of feelings or issues that come up after your divorce.

Different Methods of Divorce Counseling

Just like most therapy and counseling, there are a number of different methods and approaches that a counselor or therapy may use throughout the course of discernment counseling. So, for discernment counseling, you should use some counseling discernment! Here, we’ll look at some of the common methods and options that are offered for discernment counseling.

One option for discernment counseling is the traditional, face to face therapy method. This means that you and your soon to be ex-spouse sit down together in the therapists office and go through the treatment and discernment counseling together. Usually, couples do one or two sessions of marital counseling per week, with each session lasting 45 minutes to an hour. This is a great option for pre divorce therapy or discernment counseling if you’re looking for the feeling of a safe space where you and your partner can meet with the therapist for counseling couples therapy. 

Another option is online marriage counseling. Just like in the traditional, face to face counseling couples therapy, online marital counseling involves meeting with the therapist and going through the couples counseling together. However, unlike the more traditional model of discernment counseling, this happens online. That means that you’ll use a video conferencing tool to do the marriage counseling. Online marital counseling is great for couples who are separated and living far away from each other at the moment, or who have busy schedules. This is because you don’t have to travel to the therapist’s office to do the couples counseling. The couples counseling comes to you with online marriage counseling!

Finally, you can also explore the option of counseling couples therapy retreats. With this treatment set-up, you and your spouse go to a center where you’re relatively shut off from your daily life. In some places, they even go as far as to prohibit cell phone or internet use during the course of couples counseling! At the counseling couples therapy retreat, therapists spend time counseling couples for a portion of the day, and then the couples have other structured activities throughout the day. These activities might be focused on rebuilding trust or rekindling a romantic flame. For that reason, couples counseling retreats are better for counseling couples who haven’t yet fully decided to get a divorce. This kind of discernment counseling is geared towards potentially saving the marriage with more intense intervention. 

In summary, before you decide on one type of discernment counseling for your divorce process, be sure to check out all of your options. Talk through these options for discernment counseling with your spouse, and try to come to a decision together. In the end, discernment counseling can be one of the best things that you do for yourself and your spouse, even when your marriage ends in divorce.

Benefits Of Divorce Counseling

Even if you are the one who initiated the divorce, ending a long-term relationship can be difficult. You may experience feelings of grief, even if you know your ex-spouse was not right for you. Counseling will help you to move forward instead of getting stuck. A divorce counselor can help you see the benefits of your new lifestyle. Here are some of the key ways that discernment counseling can help you move on from a marriage divorce.

Understanding Why The Marriage Didn't Last

Another benefit of divorce counseling is that it may help you to understand why the marriage didn't work out. This can help you to find a more compatible partner if you choose to enter another long-term relationship in the future. In the end, your counselor's job is to help you, regardless of your decision to end your marriage, stay single after, or enter another relationship in the future.

Many people don't realize this, but knowing why your previous marriage didn't last makes a difference. The failure of a marriage is rarely the fault of just one person, but understanding the reasons for the failure makes a difference. It can help you learn how to grow and improve as an individual. Furthermore, you can use your previous marriage as a learning experience of what to and not do as you enter into future relationships. You probably thought that marriage counseling can save a marriage, but it also turns out that discernment counseling is also a great method to pave the way for all of your future relationships. As human beings, if we do not learn from our past mistakes, we are bound to repeat them. This is why divorce counseling can be so beneficial.

General Life Management

Contrary to what most people are aware of, divorce can be extremely hectic and tumultuous in your life. Many individuals believe they can manage such a drastic life change on their own, but it quickly takes its toll. As you go through the process of divorce, you will still need to manage your work life, your other relationships, and additional aspects of your life. This can be a lot for one person to handle alone; for this reason, having a counselor to provide professional guidance which is specifically tailored to your situation can aid you through this period of your life. Discernment counseling can help you move forward with healthy habits and useful tools that will translate to areas of your life outside your divorce. In this way, you’ll be able to move on better prepared and more confident!

Maintaining Emotional And Mental Health

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are splitting from someone who you once planned to spend the rest of your life with, it's normal to feel a wide range of emotions. These emotions can include shame, disappointment, anger, resentment, guilt, and so much more. If these feelings aren't properly managed and dealt with, they can truly take a toll on your emotional and mental well-being.

You may think that you can easily navigate these emotions on your own, but having a counselor in your corner can make a difference. Remember, a divorce counselor specializes in helping people deal with what you're doing through and can provide useful insight. When you're going through the process of divorce, you want to be sure not to overwhelm yourself or take on more than you can deal with. This is why having outside help, and a professional support system makes such a nice difference.

Protecting Your Children During The Divorce Process

Divorce is a challenging time for anyone, especially children. Sadly, when married couples are in the process of splitting up, they can become so wrapped up in their own lives and situations that they forget to consider how the divorce impacts their kids. One of the most important roles that discernment counseling plays is actually not for you or your spouse: it’s for the couples counseling couples children. It's not uncommon for kids to take things to heart and believe that they're responsible for their parents breaking up even when this isn't the case. This is yet another area where a divorce counselor can serve as a guide.

One of the amazing things about divorce counselors is the fact that this is their lane. This means they have the professional knowledge and experience to help to divorce parents protect their kids and ensure that they don't get hurt in the process. Sometimes, it can be helpful for children with divorcing parents to go through their therapy. This means that the child will also be working with a therapist while you and your spouse are in couple counseling couples therapy, all the way from your initial deciding to divorce until the transition into life after your divorce. Working with a professional can allow kids to express themselves and understand enough about what's happening to know that they are not at fault.

Being Sure That You Truly Want To Get Divorced

Not every couple goes through with the divorce. In many cases, spouses may find that they can work through whatever issues they're facing without splitting up. Granted, this doesn't work for every couple, and there are times where divorce is the best solution for all parties involved. Nevertheless, seeing a divorce counselor can ensure that both you and your partner are confident that divorce is the right choice for your lives. No matter how things turn out, being comfortable with the decisions that are made and knowing that you both made the right call matters.

Important Things To Keep In Mind

Divorce counseling makes a major difference and can ensure that anyone has a peaceful and manageable transition through this process. However, even with the help and guidance of a counselor, there will still be tough times which you have to manage and get through. Remembering the feedback and advice from your counselor will help you immensely, and so will trusting yourself and realizing that there is light at the end of this tunnel. In the end, discernment counseling or pre divorce therapy can be a huge boon to both you and your spouse, even though you’re both going through a tumultuous time in your relationship and in your lives in general. 

Relationship differences happen for a reason. Sometimes the people we marry are not the ones we end up with or spend the rest of our lives with. No matter what led up to the divorce, regardless of how difficult or trying this process may be, remembering what you learned from the partnership and how it helped you grow as an individual are great ways of remaining positive.

No matter how dark or scary things may seem, you will get through this. Sometimes, when we're going through tough times, it can be easy to question whether or not we will truly make it. Falling into the trap of wondering whether or not this circumstance will be the one which does us in is not uncommon. However, in times of strife and difficulty, we have to remain strong and keep pushing, regardless of what life throws at us. You will make it through this divorce, and when it's all over, you will be a stronger person because of it.

We Can Help You Develop Healthier Relationships
Feel More In Control Of Your Life - Click Here To Sign Up


In Closing

No matter who you are or what you're going through, know that you are not alone. You are stronger than any obstacle that life throws in your direction. Sometimes challenges come to test us as individuals and help us truly realize how tough we are and what we're made of. You can do this. You will make it through...and one day, you'll be able to look back and understand why everything played out in the manner in which it did.

If you are interested in divorce counseling or counseling of any kind, yet unsure of where to turn, then you've come to the right place. Here at ReGain, we have amazing counselors and therapists who would be more than thrilled to work with you, no matter who you are or what situation you are up against, or what your goals and expectations are for divorce therapy. You can get in contact with us at any time simply by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do divorce counselors do?

A divorce counselor is a licensed therapist that deals with patients who are considering divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or who have recently been divorced. This means that you can consult a divorce counselor or marriage therapist at every single step of the divorce process, from an initial separation, to the final decision to divorce, to the post divorce therapy that covers how to move on after the papers are signed. All in all, a divorce counselor helps couples to navigate some of the challenges and negative emotions they may be dealing with as a couple or as individuals through therapy sessions.

A good divorce counselor assists couples seeking a divorce to address unresolved issues, especially when children are involved. If a divorce counselor believes that a marriage can't be saved, and that divorce would be in the best interest of the couple, it is the duty of the divorce counselor to ensure that the couple achieves an amicable resolution and transition.

You can get in contact with a divorce therapist online or sign up for an online therapy session if you are having issues dealing with some of the troubles of married life. If you are an experienced and licensed therapist, you may want to list your practice online for couples who need the services of a therapist online (or an online therapist). 

Do therapists recommend divorce?

It is not often that a marriage therapist or couples counselor would recommend divorce. Most therapists would first seek to understand the issues affecting the marriage and examine the possibility of a solution that could prevent divorce. It is only in rare instances that a therapist would advise a couple to end their marriage, and even then, this would come in the form of a suggestion rather than a recommendation. Instead of taking a biased position, a therapist focuses on how couples can resolve conflict and maintain a healthy relationship.

In the case of an abusive marriage, a therapist would discuss with the victim during one-on-one sessions, and help them to find ways to end the cycle of abuse. This may require that the abusive partner undergoes counseling as well, and the counselor may assist them in finding a therapist. However, most therapists try to avoid a situation where they explicitly convince an individual to file for a divorce. If the marriage can't be salvaged, a counselor will guide the couple through a healthy divorce process. If you are unable to find a therapist such as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) near you, you can connect with a family therapist online (or any other online therapist). 

What is pre-divorce counseling?

Pre-divorce counseling is the process where a couple decides if they should seek a divorce or continue with the marriage. In divorce counseling, couples discuss their grievances with a therapist, and if their marriage can be saved. Pre-divorce counseling can also help couples to figure out if they should tell their children, family members, friends, and any other interested party that they are considering a divorce.

Pre-divorce gives couples a chance to examine how a divorce will affect their children and how to guide them through the difficult period. But pre divorce therapy, also called discernment therapy, can also be beneficial to couples who don’t have any kids. For instance, pre-divorce counseling enables couples to maintain a healthy relationship between one another should they eventually decide on ending the marriage. Pre-divorce counseling provides an opportunity for couples to ease tensions that may have started before and during a divorce, and ensures they are able to resolve logistical problems like a shared property, pet, or business.

Pre divorce counseling is a form of counseling that helps couples who've decided to get a divorce, or who want to get a divorce but haven't started the process yet, navigate the separation. Getting counseling before divorce is extremely beneficial, and sometimes, necessary, for couples. Pre divorce counseling helps you to create a plan for a healthy separation, communicate amicably and effectively, and to work through the tough decisions and circumstances related to divorce, such as those related to parenting. Before going to pre divorce counseling, a couple might have a number of questions such as, "How do we talk to the kids about the divorce?" or "how do we navigate shared custody in a way that's healthy for the kids?" Seeing a mental health provider for pre divorce counseling is a game-changer and a major relief for people with questions like these. After you see someone for pre divorce counseling, you'll be confident that you're making the right moves for you and your family, and you'll have the tools to navigate hard conversations or topics with your family, ex or soon-to-be ex-partner, and yourself. An individual's internal dialogue can run wild when making hard choices like those related to divorce or how to navigate a divorce, and pre divorce counseling can bring you a greater sensation of peace and confidence as it relates to the separation.

There are a lot of experienced therapists who offer marriage counseling online for couples considering divorce. You can start here if you would like to find a therapist that offers online counseling sessions or therapy online.

How much do divorce counselors make?

The average annual salary of divorce counselors is estimated to be around $54,000. A lot of divorce counselors have master's degrees and other professional qualifications in various mental-health-related fields such as family therapy, psychology, marriage counseling, divorce counseling, and mental health counseling. Divorce counselors must pass the state licensing examination or the national examination for marriage and family therapists to qualify for accreditation. Before being eligible for licensing, a divorce counselor must also undergo a minimum of 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Some divorce counselors are available for counseling online and understand the requirements for providing therapy online. The cost of divorce counseling may be considerably lower if you opt for an online therapy program or if you have to meet with a therapist online. Counseling should not feel like a waste of time. It should help you prepare for the divorce and feel a sense of ease regarding any concerns you currently have. You want your time spent wisely, so make sure that the therapist you see is licensed. Many online therapy websites, including ReGain, ensure the licensure of their counselors and therapists so that you know you will get the most beneficial, high-quality counseling.

 What are the five stages of divorce?

The five stages of divorce are similar to the five stages of grief. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The stages may occur concurrently, and it is likely that children will deal with the divorce of their parents in the same way. An online therapist can walk you and other members of your family through the process of coping with negative emotions like anger, confusion, fear, shame, and despair in the aftermath of a divorce. If you need professional counseling, life coaching, or general advice on how you can improve your personal growth, but you can't seem to find a therapist in your area, online counseling is a good way to overcome this challenge. Having someone to talk to can ease the process tremendously and can help you in tangible ways as well as emotionally in the sense that a therapist will be able to guide you while you move forward and into the next stage of your life.

What should I not tell my therapist?

A good divorce counselor will create an environment of confidentiality and security that encourages openness and honesty. It is important that you refrain from lying to your therapist or providing false information. Being dishonest with your therapist can affect their ability to understand what is wrong with your marriage and how to address the problem properly. The aim of the therapist is to listen and not to judge, as well as to provide healthy solutions and not to complicate situations.

However, there are a few things that you shouldn’t tell your therapist, not because they aren’t safe or off-limits, but because they can complicate the process of your treatment. You should never tell your therapist that you have a mental illness if you haven’t been officially diagnosed with this mental illness by a mental health professional! For example, even if you’ve been feeling depressed during the course of your divorce, you shouldn’t say, “I have depression” unless you’ve been clinically diagnosed with depression. Of course, a thorough therapist or counselor will usually ask if you’ve been diagnosed or not, but it’s important to keep things clear when it comes to mental health diagnoses! For this reason, you should only tell your therapist if you have a diagnosed mental illness. But also bear in mind: if you suspect an underlying mental health issue, you should raise that in therapy! The key here is using clear language that won’t mislead the therapist during the course of your counseling and/or treatment. 

Other than that exception, therapy and counseling are considered safe, free, and open spaces where you can share your deepest thoughts and feelings. So if you would like to unburden yourself of feelings like guilt, fear, shame, and guilt, you can be sure that when you find a therapist, they won't discuss the things you share with them with anyone else. When it comes to finding the best therapist, there are a couple of ways to go. First, if there is something in particular you're looking for, such as a trauma-informed therapist or someone who practices specific modalities or types of therapy such as CBT, DBT, or ACT, that is an important thing to keep in mind during your search. Whether you see someone for marital counseling, individual counseling pre divorce counseling, or another form of therapy, it is crucial that you find a mental health provider you're comfortable with.

You can choose to see a provider online or in your local area. Online therapy and online counseling can help you understand and manage your emotions in a positive way to build healthy relationships. An online counseling session is very similar to that of an in person counseling session. If you're wondering what to expect in divorce counseling sessions, there are a couple of things to know that can help you get a better idea as to what it'll be like. When you go in to see a counselor to talk about separation and divorce, they will likely ask you what your goals are for therapy and what your concerns are when it comes to navigating divorce separation or matters related to these topics, such as child custody, judgment from those in your personal life, or property distribution. Again, you can talk about anything you want in therapy, so don't be afraid to bring up your genuine concerns.

What are signs you should get a divorce?

When a marriage becomes abusive, and the individuals in a partnership can't seem to get along, this could be a sign that the marriage is ending for a divorce. The moment couples no longer feel the need to commit to a marriage or make compromises to appease each other, conflict becomes a way to express mutual dissatisfaction. Some of the other signs that you should get a divorce include:

  • When your partner has no regard for your feelings
  • When there's a lack of respect in the relationship
  • When your partner is a serial cheat
  • When communication becomes an ordeal
  • When your partner is no longer interested in being married
  • When your partner has expectations you can't meet
  • When you don't mind living without them
  • When you no longer trust your partner
  • When you and your partner enjoy spending time with other people
  • When your partner no longer agrees you should have children or not

If you notice any of these signs in your marriage, then you may need to go for therapy or counseling online. Online therapy gives you a chance to know if it's possible for you and your partner to straighten out your marital problems or if a divorce would be in your best interests.

Will a marriage counselor tell you to get a divorce?

A lot of marriages breakdown as a result of irreconcilable differences. Persistent conflict in a marriage can take a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of the individuals involved. Irrespective of how troubled the marriage might seem, it is important that the couples meet with a marriage counselor to determine the best action to take. A marriage counselor rarely recommends divorce, but would provide a healthy space to explore the possibility of saving the marriage. Whether you prefer to deal with a counselor face-to-face or you prefer to receive counseling online, make sure that you sign up with a licensed therapist.

Another common question people have is if a counselor would ever tell you not to separate or get a divorce. The answer is that a counselor will never try to talk you out of getting a divorce. A mental health provider is there to be an objective third party. If you and your partner decided to go to pre divorce therapy divorce counseling or divorce therapy, you've already made up your mind, and they aren't there to change that. A mental health professional will generally be a big believer in your and your partner's autonomy to make your own decisions. They're there to support you and guide you no matter what choice you make. If you ever feel unreasonably pressured by a counselor or therapist and it's not due to any abuse that's going on or similar concerns, know that you have every right to switch therapists. You deserve to find a mental health provider who will be genuinely helpful to you and your partner, whether you are splitting up or staying together. 

Will counseling help my marriage?

Some couples choose to meet with a marriage counselor in a bid to save their marriage, while others do so after they have already decided to get a divorce. The purpose of marriage counseling is to examine the root cause of conflict in a marriage and to provide tools and strategies for couples who would like to resolve their challenges in a civil manner. This is why, when choosing a counselor, couples are advised to only work with a licensed therapist. It is important that the counselor is professional and experienced because an incompetent counselor can actually make things worse. A skilled counselor helps couples to better communicate their feelings, to the purpose of their marriage, and avoids victimizing one partner to appease the other. ReGain has a team of licensed therapists and marriage counselors available for online counseling sessions for couples seeking to salvage their marriage. If you're wishing that your marriage be saved, don't be afraid to reach out to a mental health provider near you or someone at an online therapy website such as ReGain today.

Another form of therapy people utilize to build a strong foundation for their marriage is pre marriage counseling, also known as premarital counseling. Pre marriage counseling or premarital counseling is something that a lot of couples pursue prior to marriage or while they're making plans for marriage to set themselves up for a healthy, happy wed life. In premarital counseling you can talk about anything related to married life such as parenting, in laws, family money, communication, and so on. The state of your marriage or partnership will determine what form of counseling you seek. You might seek counseling to try and make your marriage work, to prepare for the divorce, or to prepare for marriage.

Should you try counseling before divorce?

If you and your partner want to save your marriage, getting couples therapy is an excellent option. Couples therapy has a high success rate for those looking to mend issues in a relationship or to navigate matters such as conflict resolution, communication, decision making, how to support one another, how to bring love and affection back into a relationship, and more.

If you don't want to save your marriage, have no desire to save your marriage, or know that an attempt to save your marriage just isn't right for you or your family, pre divorce counseling, divorce therapy, or divorce counseling can be incredibly beneficial. You don't have to want to stay together to benefit from counseling. Discernment counseling may be beneficial for couples in situations where they aren't sure if they want to get a divorce or not. Discernment counseling was created for this specific purpose. A discernment counselor will help couples work out what they want to do in terms of staying together or pursuing separation. It's typically very short term, and it can help you find the clarity that you're looking for.

Previous Article

Why Should You See A Divorce Therapist?
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Counselor Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.