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Britain's first ever 'divorce fair' to cater for soaring numbers of couples splitting up


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 1:27 PM on 04th June 2008

An event dubbed the UK's first divorce fair is to be staged to help parting couples break-up as painlessly as possible, its organiser said today.

Solicitors, financial experts, mortgage advisers and health professionals will exhibit at the one-day event at Brighton Racecourse in Brighton, East Sussex, on October 11.

The fair, called the Starting Over Show, has attracted 20 potential exhibitors with the aim of gaining 90 and follows on from other divorce fairs held in Europe.

It is being promoted as an event to enable people bounce back from relationship break-ups, including civil partnership splits, and help them build the skills to face the future.


article-0-006C60C500000258-309_468x424.jpg Difficult time: The UK's first divorce fair aims to help separating couples break-up as painlessly as possible (picture posed by models)

But while legal advice will be offered, organisers insist there will be no exhibitors promoting DNA paternity testing or private detective work.

Event producer Suzy Miller said the fair may help people struggling with the credit crunch, who may to be too frightened to split because of financial fears.

Ms Miller, 44, said: 'I heard about a couple of fairs being held in Europe and wondered how something similar would go down in the UK, with the emphasis on three main things.

'That is to provide a great collaboration of lawyers, especially when children are involved, to provide good financial advice to take the fear out of the process and, importantly, to have motivational help to make it feel less doom-laden.

'From the people I have spoken to, they have said, "God I wish something like this was around when I broke up."

'There is a sense that there are a lot of people who have got to the other side but without the right support and advice, people can end up bitter and unhappy.

'Going through a break-up can be an extremely lonely time so we are placing a lot of emphasis on mind, body and soul to help people get through it.

'There will be a core of legal and financial professionals but there will also be live music, a chill-out room and a creche. And there will be an emphasis on well-being.'

Ms Miller said south coast towns suffer from some of the UK's highest divorce rates, making Brighton a fitting setting for such an event.

She added that the motivational exhibits on offer will also appeal to people going through mid-life crises or for those setting up their own businesses.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last year showed that the divorce rate in England and Wales had reached its lowest level since 1984.

The divorce rate for 2006 fell to 12.2 divorces per thousand married men and women, a drop of seven per cent compared with the 2005 figure of 13.1, the ONS said.

A spokesman for relationship counselling organisation Relate said: 'The more help and advice for people going through the divorce the better.'

Emma Brennan, a spokesman for the Family and Parenting Institute, said: 'We think that you cannot reduce divorce to a series of practical problems as it's an extremely painful experience for all involved, especially if couples have children.

'We want to see more effective and affordable marriage support networks and for them to be made more accessible, not just when people reach crisis point.'

The world's first divorce fair opened in Vienna, Austria, in October last year, under the slogan New Beginning, and attracted around 500 people and 20 exhibitors including private detective firms and DNA laboratories offering paternity tests.

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