A LAWYER has lifted the lid on the number of Wearside couples locked in loveless marriages.
Sunderland divorce solicitor Jacqueline Emmerson says she agrees with a national study, which claims a quarter of all couples live in marriage misery.
“I would agree that a number of our clients wish they had not married their partner,” said Jacqueline, head of the family department at Emmerson’s Solicitors.
“And I would say that the number of clients we see who are not in love with their partners is more like 90 per cent.
“They say things such as ‘I didn’t know them properly’, ‘They hid their debts from me’, and ‘They had mental health issues that I didn’t know about’.”
The study of 2,000 people, by lawyers Slater and Gordon, showed that 25 per cent of couples only stay together for the sake of their children, and one third wish it had worked out with someone else.
One in five admitted they had been unfaithful, and one in six wish they had never got married in the first place.
Unhappy couples reported that arguments over money, sex and spouse control were the main reasons for relationship breakdowns.
The family court filed 132,000 applications for divorce – 44 per cent of all family court applications – in the first three months of this year.
“I have some extremely unhappy clients who will not leave their spouse because they know that they will see less of their children,” said Jacqueline.
“Obviously, divorce rates are down as fewer people actually get married.
“I think we are now dealing with a slight increase in divorces, as opposed to the previous two years.
“However, we do deal with less than, say, 10 years ago, when our average divorce client would be about 35 years of age, and would have been married in their mid twenties.”
Despite the statistics, almost half of those who answered the Slater and Gordon survey still said that getting married was the best thing they had ever done, and three-quarters would advise young people to get married.
Deacon Peter Lavery, co-ordinator of marriage and family life in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, said that at the last count, the church had performed the highest number of weddings in six years.
“In 2011 there were 601 marriages in the diocese.
“I am involved with hundreds of young couples every year and I am encouraged by their maturity and love for each other,” he said.
“And while I accept that, despite our best efforts, couples are not immune to marriage breakdown, I am encouraged by the number of young people who show the courage and commitment to choose a lifetime of marriage while living in a society which is so sceptical, and even hostile to it.”