Court-ordered marriage therapy is just what it sounds like. The judge may require you and your spouse to attend marriage counseling before granting you a divorce. The judge would probably specify the number of sessions or a specific time frame. You and your spouse are responsible for paying for counseling.
The notion that the marriage is irretrievably broken is an important idea that could come into play if the respondent spouse disagrees with this assessment. In his response to the petition, the spouse may state that he believes there is a possibility of reconciliation and ask a judge to issue an order for marriage counseling. The judge has the legal authority to do so if he agrees that there is potential for reconciliation. If requested, a judge may require up to three sessions of marriage counseling with a qualified therapist within three to four months.
A qualified therapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or religious leader, such as a priest or rabbi, that the court deems appropriate. Judges know that the counseling process is more likely to be successful if both parties invest in it. Otherwise, it is a waste of time and money, and the court does not want to impose it unnecessarily.