As figures* reveal that almost half of marriages in England and Wales could end in divorce, Judith Middleton, partner and family lawyer at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks is urging separating couples in the region to follow the latest celebrity trend and seek a more amicable alternative to bitter divorce battles. If divorce and death rates remain unchanged, only 10% of couples marrying this year will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary in 2068, with 45% of marriages ending in divorce and 45% ending with the death of a partner. Many celebrity couples are embracing collaborative law or mediation to resolve their differences rather than fighting a public battle as seen recently in the McCartney Mills divorce. The latest couple to opt for peace over war is Robin Williams and his wife. The couple filed for divorce after 19 years of marriage and, according to court papers, agreed to be honest, cooperative and respectful during the proceedings. Celebrity Big Brother couple Chantelle and Preston agreed to split their assets 50/50 after their marriage broke down after just 10 months and Chelsea owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and his former wife reached a friendly, if costly settlement. Chris Evans and Billie Piper remained close friends, even attending each others recent nuptials and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson continued as a family with their two girls despite their divorce. Judith is regional spokesperson for family law group Resolution, which promotes a constructive and non-confrontational approach to separation and divorce. Judith said: Acrimonious breakdowns can have a devastating effect on families, especially on children, and should be avoided at all costs. The figures are disturbing and everything should be done to lessen the effect on all concerned. There are good divorces as well as bad marriages. Few couples want their marriages or relationships to end in acrimony and most would like to remain on good terms with their spouses and their wider families. Most individuals setting out on the path to divorce or separation hope for a fair outcome and a secure future for themselves but they also seek a satisfactory outcome their partners. Whether the couple is high-profile and newsworthy or not, the need to work together to resolve differences is paramount and the key to a successful divorce.