Couple holding hands - Prenuptial agreements image

Is your relationship distressed?

New research finds fifth of UK couples close to divorce or separation

A recent report released by charity Relate indicates that 18% of married or cohabiting people are deemed to be in “distressed” relationships.

The figures are based on an analysis of responses from 20,980 people in relationships between 2013 to 2015. This equates to 2.87 million people across the UK in unhappy relationships, and facing the prospect of divorce or relationship breakdown.

A distressed relationship was defined as one where “issues and disagreements are severe, leading to clinically significant negative impact on wellbeing”. Many of the respondents confirmed they regularly considered separation or divorce, quarrelled, regretted being in their marriage or relationship and felt unhappy. The report also highlighted links between relationship distress, depression, anxiety and other health problems.

The impact of a dysfunctional and poor quality relationship impacts dramatically on the whole family, and in particular children. The research found that families with children under 16 were most likely to be affected, with 22% of parents of under 16s reporting severe distress. Many families are struggling to get the support they need and are suffering in silence, which in turn increases the likelihood of a permanent separation or divorce and other long-lasting related issues as a result.

Relate is a national charity supporting parents and couples through difficult times by way of advice and counselling. Their research can be viewed on the Relate website.

Contact our family law team

Clarke Willmott’s family team are experts in all aspects of family law, including divorce, separation, cohabitation and children law. We can help if you have recently divorced or separated, you are thinking about doing so, or you simply want to know more. Call us on 0800 422 0123 or contact us online.