Northern Ireland divorce rate 'hits new high'

The number of couples in Northern Ireland choosing to consult solicitors and divorce hit an all-time high in 2007.

Statistics released by the government have shown that the number of couples divorcing in the province increased to just over 2,700 in 2007 - 14 per cent higher than during 2006.

Counselling service Relate has blamed divorce on changing values in society, a newspaper reports.

Chief executive of Relate in Northern Ireland Gerald Clark told the Belfast Telegraph: "The increase in divorces are largely down to pressures, such as both partners working, financial pressures, the addition of children to a relationship."

David Cameron has proposed the introduction of family counselling centres to give advice to couples considering divorce.

He said that such centres could be either a way of keeping families together or making sure that the split, with issues such as child contact and financial settlements arranged through sensitive solicitors, is as painless as possible.

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