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Children of Divorce: Can the Court Order Counseling?

Posted on in Children of divorce

St. Charles family law attorneysAny divorce proceeding can lead to serious emotional and psychological reactions by either spouse. When children are involved, however, the implications of divorce can be even more serious. Many children of divorce often struggle with their new reality and may display behavioral issues, uncontrolled anger, or symptoms of depression or anxiety. Divorced parents may be left wondering if there is anything the court can do in regard to ordering therapy or counseling and splitting the costs of such services. According to the law in Illinois, a family court can order counseling for children of divorce depending on the family’s circumstances.

Custody Evaluations

When a divorcing couple is struggling to reach an agreement regarding parenting arrangements for their child, such decisions are often left to the court. In doing so, the court has the authority to appoint an appropriate professional to conduct an evaluation of the child and each parent. These evaluations may include interviews, tests, and any other accepted methods of determining the child’s needs and his or her best interests. In addition to the court’s appointed professional, a professional retained by either parent may also conduct such an investigation at the court’s direction. The costs for such evaluations—if they are not conducted by an agency of the state—may be divided between the parties in a manner that is fair and equitable.

Court-Ordered Counseling

There are several situations in which a family court has the authority to order counseling for the child and/or either or both parents. Such counseling may be ordered if:

  • Both parents agree that counseling is necessary;
  • The health of the child is in danger or the child’s emotional development is threatened;
  • Either parent has abused his or her parenting time; or
  • One or both parents has violated a provision in the parenting plan regarding conduct affecting the child or in the child’s presence.

Most orders for counseling are made following the entry of the divorce judgment and parenting plan. If the parents agree, however, the court may order counseling for the child while the proceedings are still ongoing. The costs associated with counseling may be allocated between the parents as the court finds appropriate.  


It is extremely important to understand that the court will not order counseling as an investigation to find information pertinent to ongoing or future proceedings. There are plenty of avenues available for such investigations. Counseling, therapy, or educational programs are meant to be confidential and intended to help the individuals in need. Illinois law specifies that communications made during court-ordered counseling are completely confidential and “shall not be used in any manner in litigation nor relied upon by any expert appointed by the court or retained by either party.”

Get the Guidance You Need

If you have a child who is struggling to adjust to life after your divorce, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can help you explore your legal options. Call Goostree Law Group today at 630-584-4800 and schedule your free, confidential consultation with a member of our team.



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