Hundreds of Austrians stuck in loveless marriages may lie about their whereabouts this weekend. Instead of pursuing trysts, they’ll be attending a “divorce fair” to plan their return to single life.
At the two-day event in Vienna, fed-up spouses can contract private detectives to spy on philandering mates, hire real estate agents to find a new homes and book vacation packages designed for the newly separated. They can even hire a DNA sampling lab to see if it will really be necessary to pay child support.
“New Beginnings” is the world’s first divorce fair, according to Anton Barz, 37, a wedding organizer who came up with the idea after realizing that half of all unions were doomed.
“Austria’s divorce statistics are shocking,” Barz said in a cafÃ© near Sigmund Freud’s former home in the Austrian capital. “People get a wedding certificate more easily than a driver’s license and have no idea of the consequences when they crash.”
Around 500 people are expected to attend the fair at the Vienna Marriott Hotel, where 20 vendors — including a local law firm hunting for new clients — will ply them with advice about how to settle their partnership problems.
Austria’s divorce rate rose to 49 percent in 2006 from 29 percent in 1987, according to government statistics released in June.
Update: More here.