(Of course, this service is not available to clients I've seen in marriage counseling. However, it could be appropriate for folks I've seen for Discernment Counseling, which is a short-term process for couples in which one or both parties are unsure of whether they're ready for, or, actually want a divorce.)
After decades of experience as a psychologist counseling married and unmarried couples, I decided to expand my education and training to include divorce mediation. As a divorce mediator, I'm able to apply my knowledge as a psychologist to helping couples structure a fair separation and divorce - with as little damaging conflict as possible.
Separation and divorce have rippling effects - both positive and negative - for all who know and care about the separating couple. Fortunately, some of the negative effects of divorce are reduced when the couple participates in an open and fair mediation facilitated by a knowledgeable and impartial professional. It really is possible to dissolve a marriage, as you've known it, and re-structure your family as caring parents, without an adversarial approach. Obviously, when children are involved, remaining cordial, honest and respectful is especially important.
I can help you do that. I will coach you through the hard parts. We will probably meet together 4-6 times to create a Memorandum of Understanding, which documents what you've agreed, regarding economic/financial matters and child access.
In addition, so you are assured that your individual rights are considered throughout the process, each of you may decide to have a "consulting" attorney to look over the agreement. The role of the consulting attorney is simply to advise you of your rights, in case anything is overlooked. The role is educational; not adversarial. You may also want to hire experts, such as an accountant, appraiser, financial consultant, and child psychologist to provide technical information and clarify specific issues.
The final Memoradum of Understanding is then put into a legal and binding contract, by your attorneys, which is presented to the court, whenever you decide to actually divorce. A judge's signature makes the divorce legal.
Mediation costs a fraction of the expense of an adversarial separation and divorce. It is based on a per hour fee. You decide how many visits you need. There are no upfront costs or retainers. And, mediation facilitates cooperation, honesty and fairness, rather than hostility and rancor. This is especially important when children are involved. A fair agreement that works for whole family is the overriding goal.
By the way, you should know that you can come for my help as soon as both of you are willing to discuss separation with an impartial third person. I will inform you both about the details of the process.
Or, if one of you is still "on the fence," I can employ a special short-term counseling approach called Discernment Counseling, in which I will help you both agree to a plan for the future.
I hope you will let me help you weather this difficult time in your lives.
However, if you aren't ready to separate or divorce, there may be other options for dealing with the difficulties you're having. Discernment Counseling or Closure Counseling may be better for you at this time. I'd be happy to help you determine the best way for you to proceed at this time.