SOLICITORS from Huddersfield law firms have joined forces for a pioneering scheme to take the sting out of divorce.
The group of family law solicitors have embarked on a pioneering service that helps couples to agree a divorce settlement amicably.
Helen Thewlis and Jane Auty, of Ramsdens, have joined Jane Mahaffey, of Eaton Smith, Sharon Hardman, of Parker Bird Gardner, and Penny Manock, of Wilkinson Woodward and Boococks to offer the service.
The lawyers are all members of family law group Resolution.
Under the so-called collaborative system, divorcing couples sign a written agreement not to go to court.
Ms Thewlis said: "It is a sad fact of life, but divorce is here to stay. The most recent statistics suggest that almost half of UK marriages will end in failure."
She said: "The cost of relationship breakdown is not merely financial - although anyone who has been through the process will know how costly court battles over splitting assets can be.
"The real cost is in the personal and emotional turmoil that so often accompanies the end of relationships.
"A bad divorce can leave lasting scars, not just on the two main protagonists, but on their children and on their extended family and friends too."
Resolution lawyers say they encourage couples to reach agreement about the break-up themselves.
Now, more than 90% of cases involving solicitors who are members of Resolution are settled without court battles.
Ms Thewlis said: "It sends out remarkably positive signals to children who benefit hugely from knowing that their parents are working out their differences together constructively.
"It's not an easy option - it requires the right mind set from everyone involved.
"It may not be cheaper, financially, than a traditional approach.
"But for some couples, it provides a genuine resolution to marital breakdown.
"Many successfully remain friends with their former partners, in an atmosphere of respect and understanding which, they say, at the beginning of the process they could never have contemplated."