20,000 people could save their marriages with the right support


More than 20,000 people could be unnecessarily divorcing this year, according to new analysis from leading relationships charity, Relate. The latest divorce figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), out today, show that there were 111,169 divorces in England and Wales in 2014. Based on current trends*, there are likely to be approximately 100,458 divorces in 2016 – and when cross-referenced with Relate’s own 2016 data this makes it likely that 20,092 of those people will feel they could have saved their relationship with the right support.

This figure is based on information from Relate and Relationship Scotland’s new report, Happy Families?, which is being released this Wednesday. Based on a survey of 5,000 UK adults, the report lifts the lid on the state of our family relationships.  Its findings include:

  • 1 in 10 (10%) of those surveyed who were divorced said that, with the right support, “we would have been able to save the relationship and stay together” (5% definitely, 5% probably);
  • 18% said that, with the right support, “we would have been able to make the ending of the relationship easier to deal with” (8% definitely, 10% probably).

Relate’s Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said: “It is worrying that so many divorced people feel they could have saved their relationship with the right support.  Whilst divorce is not a decision people tend to take lightly, sometimes there are cases when relationship issues have spiralled out of control because people haven’t sought support early enough. 

“That’s why we would encourage anybody experiencing relationship issues to access support such as counselling at the earliest possible stage. We would also like to encourage family lawyers to signpost all clients to counselling as part of the process.

“For those who decide to proceed with their divorce, it is important that they are given the tools to separate in the least painful way possible. A big part of the problem is that the current system is overly complex with different agencies working in silos.  There is also no clear entry point, which is why Relate is calling for a single online point of access for support around separation and divorce.”

The Happy Families? report was sponsored by family solicitors, Simpson Millar.  Peter Morris, National Head of Family Law from Simpson Millar, added: “Families today face significant challenges. As well as pressures caused by an uncertain political and financial climate, very little public funding is available to help address issues arising from relationship breakdown. Relate and Relationships Scotland go some way to filling that gap and all responsible family lawyers would encourage couples experiencing relationship breakdown to contact them.”

*In order to calculate this statistic, Relate cross-referenced the latest divorce figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), out today, with their own new data based on a study of over 5,000 UK adults. 

About Relate

  • Relate is a registered charity number 207314.
  • Relate champions the importance of strong and healthy relationships as the basis of a thriving society.
  • Relationships are under increasing pressure – breakdown costs the UK an estimated £48bn each year.
  • Relate provides impartial and non-judgmental support for people of all ages, at all stages of couple, family and social relationships.
  • Over a million people every year access information, support and counselling from Relate but it’s clear many more would benefit from Relate services.
  • Relate’s couple counselling work delivers an estimated £11.40 of benefits for every £1 spent.
  • Relate’s services extend beyond relationship counselling to family counselling, counselling for young people, sex therapy and informal courses and workshops and are offered through a network of around 1,700 counsellors across the country.
  • Relate celebrated its 75th birthday in 2013.
  • For more information and advice visit: Relate.
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