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What are your options if you can't afford marriage counseling?

Many couples who are going through a rough time can benefit from marriage counseling. However, the cost of professional marriage counseling can be prohibitive -- running into the hundreds of dollars per session. If money is one of the things you're already battling about (which it is for many couples) the idea of spending that much money may only increase marital conflict.

Fortunately, there are ways to get professional help with your problems without spending a lot of money. Following are a few options you might want to consider:

-- Insurance and other coverage: Find out if your or your spouse's health insurance covers marriage counseling. Most plans don't unless one or both spouses has a diagnosis of some type of problem that warrants psychological treatment, but it's worth checking into. Some employers also pay for counseling via employee assistance programs. If you or your spouse is a military member, find out what options are available for free counseling.-- Universities and non-profit organizations: People studying to be psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers provide counseling under the supervision of an experienced therapist as part of their training. These sessions are offered at just a fraction of what a regular therapy session would cost, and you still get the benefit of having a professional oversee the process.

-- Churches and other houses of worship: Many have licensed pastoral counselors and other staff with professional training to provide marital and other types of counseling. This is offered free of at a minimal cost. If they don't, they may be able to refer you to someone who can provide the help you're seeking.

If you opt for traditional professional therapy, remember that you don't have to necessarily see that person for weekly sessions if it's not in your budget. Sometimes a few sessions can help a couple determine if their marriage is still viable. You may also work out an arrangement with the therapist where after a few sessions, you just go in once a month or so for "maintenance."

Even if it doesn't ultimately save the marriage, talking things out with a trained professional can help couples have a less contentious break-up than they otherwise would and perhaps be able to have a mediated rather than a litigated divorce in Florida. If you have children, being able to get along with your estranged spouse is particularly important to helping them successfully co-parent after the divorce.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "How to Find Low-Cost Marriage Counseling," Geoff Williams, Sep. 09, 2016

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