Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:02 UK

Lawyers line up for divorce fair

Wedding and engagement rings
Figures last year showed the divorce rate was at its lowest since 1984

A divorce fair, which is said to be the first in the UK, is being held in Brighton later this year.

Exhibitors at the event in October will include legal advisers, but no DNA testing or detective agencies.

Organisers of the Starting Over Show said they already had 20 potential exhibitors, but aim to have about 90.

Event producer Suzy Miller, 44, said south coast towns had some of the UK's highest divorce rates, making Brighton a fitting setting for the fair.

She said the event would not "make light of people's situations" but it would help them realise they can "get to the other side happy and feel there is a good future".

Ms Miller said: "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."

'Emotional support'

The event, which is being held at Brighton Racecourse, follows on from other divorce fairs held in Europe.

A divorce fair in Vienna, Austria, last October, called New Beginning, was said to be the world's first. It attracted 500 people and 20 exhibitors.

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

"However, any divorce 'event' must include advice on counselling and emotional support because divorce can be traumatic."

Emma Brennan, a spokeswoman 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."

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.

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