It is often said that, when it comes to romance, “age is but a number”.

The idea is that a couple who are truly in love can overcome the kind of obstacles which the difference in years between them might throw up.

Whilst there are undoubtedly many success stories of husbands and wives who embody that very sentiment, there appear to be a growing number of casualties, too.

Across the hundreds of divorces handled by family lawyers each year, a pattern has been thrown up to, perhaps, show that a significant age gap between spouses can add to the natural tensions of a marriage and lead to divorce. It’s a topic which I’ve been talking to the Daily Mail - about.

One-fifth of divorces which my department handles involve men or women with an age gap of more than seven years.

At first, the initial flush of romance might help obscure couples to the difference. Over time, however, having dates of birth which may be decades apart appears less an implication of experience or sophistication but suggests polarised views on things such as children, finances and social lives.

I believe that it’s a development due in part to the phenomenon of ‘silver splitting’ of recent years – the increase in middle-aged couples separating after many years of marriage. Some of those newly-single individuals get involved with people younger than themselves.

When one spouse is engaging in estate planning ahead of retirement while the other is thinking more of family planning and having kids, the potential for domestic discord is tremendous.

Those who feel comfortable in relationships which even span generations should not be unduly concerned.

My colleagues and I have found that it’s a combination of factors – not merely the details on a birth certificate – which can unfortunately prove too much for couples.

With a similar outlook on the integral elements which any relationship needs to survive, age need not be a barrier to marital bliss.

Having other issues, though, means that the age gap is often too wide to bridge.