THE number of married couples seeking counseling as a result of financial difficulties and unemployment is on the increase, the Catholic marriage care service Accord has said.

New statistics also show the number of families facing financial difficulties has risen by 40% between 2007 and 2009. "The recession is quickly and deeply affecting marriage and family," said director of counseling John Farrelly. "One only has to consider how in the first quarter of 2007, only 4% of males attending our service were unemployed, but this has nearly tripled to 11.5% for the first quarter of 2009."

Difficulties have switched from who controls family finances to how crucial costs can be met, the body said.