SCOTLAND'S leading advice service for divorcing and separating partners is warning that different views on independence may drive couples apart.

Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, said that while people were not yet turning up in counselling rooms as a result of the September 18 vote, the intense passions being generated were putting some households under unprecedented strain.

"We are clearly aware of significant tensions around the referendum," he said. "It is inevitable this will be causing significant tension across families, within couples and within households. When couples split, it is often over fundamental issues in world view."

He added: "I do believe this issue might tip some relationships over the edge into crisis."

Relationships Scotland offers counselling to help people with relationship problems, including people who are cohabiting, or dealing with affairs or marital breakdown.

The charity helps people work through problems and also counsels children and helps arrange child contact.

The Church of Scotland is among organisations that have called for a process of reconciliation and has organised a special service at ­Edinburgh's St Giles' Cathedral on September 21 to heal divisions in the wake of the campaign.

Announcing the service earlier this year, The Right Reverend John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, warned that whatever the outcome, tensions would have to be healed. He said: "Once the referendum vote has taken place, we shall have neither utopia nor unity. There is a danger the referendum will set people against each other, in their own community, their own street - even their own family."

Mr Valentine said such a healing approach should also apply to couples. He said: "We would say it is important to always allow other people, including your partner and family members, the time to make their own decisions about independence, and respect their decisions even if you disagree. We would advise people to remain sensible and measured, and not use phrases along the lines of 'only stupid people could believe that'."

He added: "With an eye on September 19, when people will still be living in the same country and households, one side will be enormously happy and one side will be extremely unhappy and there will need to be some rebuilding of relations."