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New Year, New You?: Discernment Counseling

Tonight's post about Discernment Counseling was written by our Savannah family law attorney, David Purvis.

Many people make New Year's Resolutions. Regardless of what the resolution is, the ultimate goal is generally some form of self-improvement. Sometimes the resolution is to gain freedom from a few bad habits, sometimes the resolution is to gain freedom from a whole person.

Many people in unhappy marriages push through the holidays, not wanting to start the divorce process until the family has survived the season. And sometimes, the stress of the holiday season can be enough to expose new cracks in what perhaps appeared to be a healthy marriage.

While we certainly represent people going through a divorce, we often counsel people who are simply considering their options. If you've made it through the holiday season and have made the decision that the marriage cannot be repaired, we can help. If you're not sure where your marriage stands, whether or not you want to stay or go, believe it or not, we can help with that as well.

Why consult with us? Consulting with a divorce attorney does not mean that you must go forward with one. We have found this to be particularly true when your investment in the consultation is minimal. With our free consultations, the only investment for you is half an hour of time. So for starters, consulting with us is a very small investment of time and often can go a long way in your decision making process as well as potentially alleviate a lot of your anxiety.

However, studies have shown that consulting with a divorce lawyer makes it more likely you will file for divorce. It is a problem inherent in the practice. Attorneys in this practice area tend to try to talk people into divorce. Usually, divorce attorneys think that divorce is the best way to fix the problem. 

However, The Manely Firm is intentionally quite different. All of our attorneys have been trained in discernment counseling. What is discernment counseling? It is counseling to assist the couple in determining where each party is in the separation process.  Using discernment counseling, the couple can determine whether the marriage truly is broken or whether they would mutually prefer to benefit from counseling assistance to working on the issues in the marriage.

Rather than jump directly into marriage counseling, which is inherently biased toward putting the couple back together, if the marriage is actually already beyond repair, in as little as one session discernment counseling gets right to the point: is this marriage ready for divorce or would both parties like to try explore salvaging it? While we are not discernment counselors, we have been trained to uncover when discernment counseling may be appropriate and routinely refer consulting parties to the few therapists in Georgia who have been trained as discernment counselors.

At The Manely Firm, we practice family law and only practice family law. Sometimes that means representing a party in a divorce, and we do that quite well. Sometimes it means determining that the party may not be quite ready to proceed with a divorce and referring them to someone who will be able to help them get clarity on their marriage. We do that quite well, also. And while we can't solve all problems in one consultation, we can help you determine whether your New Year's Resolution should include getting free from a whole person or just getting free from a few bad habits.

If you're unsure whether you can endure your marriage through another year, call and talk with us while you're also enrolling in that gym membership, shopping the produce aisle, or buying nicotine gum. 

Happy New Year!

David Purvis

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