The answer to the question posed above is yes. In fact, Ohio law makes provision for the court to order such counseling as part of any effort to dissolve a union, whether it is by way of divorce, annulment or even legal separation.
Nor does it take much to trigger the action. The revised codes stipulates that the court of common pleas can, on its own initiative or at the request of one of the parties involved, order all parties to pursue conciliation. Alternatively, the court has the authority to order the parties into family counseling if the notice of action involves children.
The duration of these processes may vary. A time of conciliation can be as long as 90 days. If family counseling is ordered, it could last for "any reasonable period of time as directed by the court." In addition to setting the nature of the proceedings, the court has a measure of flexibility in naming the conciliator. These could include a:
- Conciliation judge
- Private or public marriage counselor
- Family service agency
- Community health service
- Doctor or psychologist
- Member of the clergy
It is also important to note that if conciliation or family counseling is ordered, the dissolution action being sought can't proceed and no decision issued until the ordered process is complete and a status report is made to the court.
Family law is an area that covers a broad scope of issues. State law recognizes this. And while there are provisions of law that seek to make it possible to swiftly resolve tough family situations, the authority for the court to intervene can make an already complicated matter even more complex. To make decisions serving your best interests, you should seek skilled legal counsel.