With one of the highest divorce rates in western Europe, Denmark would like breaking up to be a little harder to do – while making sure that when it does happen, the fallout is made less painful for everyone concerned.

Until recently Danes could divorce by filling out a simple online form. But under a package of legislation that came into force in April, couples determined to split must wait three months and undergo counselling before their marriage can be dissolved.

Meanwhile, a survey by Politiken newspaper found that 68 of Denmark’s 98 local authorities were offering relationship therapy to couples in difficulty, on the grounds that keeping families together saves municipalities money on housing and services.

The initiatives, which in some countries might be seen as unwelcome state intrusion in citizens’ private lives, have been broadly welcomed by both the public and…

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