In the State of Florida, if your spouse has filed for divorce and you feel that your marriage can be saved, you can request that your case be stopped temporarily to attend marriage counseling. There is two ways to initiate marriage counseling and stop the proceedings. The first way is to see whether your spouse will consent to an Order staying the divorce proceedings. If they consent to this Order, then your attorney will draft the Consent Order, have you and your spouse sign it, then submit the Order to your Judge for approval. In the Consent Order, there is a time period alloted for you and your spouse to attend marriage counseling. The time period is usually around 90 days. If the marriage counseling is successful, then the divorce case is usually dismissed. If the marriage counseling is unsuccessful after that 90 day period, then the “stay” on the divorce action is lifted and the divorce case proceeds.
The next way to temporarily stop the divorce is to have your attorney file a Motion, entitled, “Motion to Initiate marriage counseling.” This Motion would contain the grounds for which you believe marriage counseling would help and the reasons why the Judge should stay the proceedings and Order the counseling. This Motion is filed and scheduled for a hearing if your spouse will not consent to the marriage counseling. At the scheduled hearing, you would present your arguments for why the Judge should Order the counseling. Your spouse has the right to also argue why the counseling should not be Ordered. The Judge would then make a ruling on whether to Order the counseling or not.
In our practice, we probably have approximately five to ten cases a year where the parties agree to attend counseling, stay their divorce proceedings and thereafter dismiss the divorce action. I know it not a lot of cases, but, it does happen. Most of the time, when our clients retain us to file a divorce, they have already attend marriage counseling.
So the answer to the question, “Can I Stop the Divorce,” is sometimes, based on whether you are willing to go to marriage counseling and the counseling is a success.