Counsellors are urging couples in the midst of separation to save themselves both heartache and money by considering third-party mediation.
As many as 15,000 couples in the West Midlands split up every year, often leading to bitter legal disputes over property and children.
And this number is set to rise in the future due to the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act later this year which will allow same-sex couples to marry.
In a bid to reduce the number of separations that end up in the courts, the Government has launched Mediation Week, which runs until November 4, aimed at raising awareness of alternatives to legal action.
Mediation is a process whereby an independent third party actively encourages couples to negotiate and to resolve disagreements between themselves, thus eliminating the need to go to court.
It is hoped that mediation provides a less intimidating atmosphere than that of the court room, thus smoothing the way for constructive solutions to problems.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Baroness Acton, who opened Mediation Week, said: "Too often, taking a case through court can be a disruptive, time-consuming and stressful process.
" Alternative means of resolving disputes can achieve better results in a more constructive and informal way.
"In mediation, because the parties reach their own agreement, they have a better chance of rebuilding a broken relationship and reducing the chance for further conflict."
As part of Mediation Week, special help desks offering advice on mediation as a costeffective way of solving finance and property matters have been set up in courts throughout the Midlands and meetings and presentations have been set up between judges and mediators.
In addition to family issues, mediation can also be used in a variety of disputes, ranging from neighbourly feuds to consumer and commercial actions.
The Family Mediation Service is also holding awareness-raising seminars for solicitors in Birmingham and has set up a help desk at the family court.
Family Mediation spokesperson Liz Yates said: "We hope to educate people here about the possibilities of mediation. We see about 1,000 couples every year but over 200,000 people decide to divorce or separate each year. Research shows that cases which are dealt through mediation... are resolved sooner and that families are satisfied with the outcome of mediation, both financially and in terms of minimising emotional disruption to their children."
She added: "It is hoped that the event will become an annual one, and remind people that mediation services are available to them in the West Midlands all year round."