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by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Marriage Counseling

§ 3.08.02
Key point 3-08.02. The clergy-penitent privilege may apply to communications made to a minister in the course of marriage counseling, even when both spouses are present.

Some courts have had difficulty deciding whether the clergy-penitent privilege applies to statements made to clergy in the course of marriage counseling when both spouses are present. Most courts have assumed that statements made to a minister in the course of marriage counseling are made to the minister in his or her professional capacity as a spiritual adviser, and in the course of discipline.[126] People v. Pecora, 246 N.E.2d 865 (Ill. 1969), cert. denied, 397 U.S. 1028 (1970); Kruglikov v. Kruglikov, 217 N.Y.S.2d 845 (1961), appeal dismissed, 226 N.Y.S.2d 931 (1962). The problem is whether or not such communications can be "confidential" when both spouses are present.

Some courts have concluded that such communications ...

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