A poll on public attitude to separation has found that more than three million seemingly happily married people in Britain have had privately considered divorce but had retracted at the last moment.
The survey had found that most people in Britain now have personal experience of divorce with a close family member going through the process.
Resolution, an organisation for lawyers involved in mediation between separating couples to avoid the need for bitter and expensive court battles, commissioned the ComRes polling, involving more than 2,000 people, to gauge attitudes to family breakdown.
They found that 13 per cent of married people had “seriously considered” divorce from their husband or wife but had decided against it.
Office for National Statistics has estimated that there were around 24 million married people in the UK.
The most recent figures available show that there were almost 120,000 divorces England and Wales in 2010, up almost five per cent in a year.
The study also found that four out of five people say they would put their children’s interests first if they were to separate, ahead of their own financial interests or ensuring they got a larger share of the assets than their partner.
Despite this, a similar proportion believes that children do end up being the main casualties of divorces.
Meanwhile four out of 10 believe that divorces can never be resolved without conflict, a proportion which rises to almost half among people who were themselves divorced.
Jo Edwards, Vice Chair of Resolution, said these findings highlight how people have good intentions to prioritise the well-being of children and to avoid conflict during separation, but this could often be derailed by a lack of knowledge of non-court based options and an exposure to the adversarial nature of courts.
Something was going very wrong, and often the result was emotionally and financially drained parents and deeply distressed children.
Resolution, is supporting Family Dispute Resolution Week this week, a national drive to raise awareness of the alternatives to going to court for separation and divorce.