Austria is to host the world's first "divorce fair" this month, aimed at helping couples untie the knot as painlessly as possible. The event, taking place in Vienna, then Linz and Graz, will allow would-be divorcees to consult lawyers about their rights and seek advice.
The divorce rate in Austria hit an all time high of 50% in 2006, with 66% of marriages in Vienna ending in divorce.
The two-day fair is being held under the motto "New beginning". The Vienna event takes place over 27-28 October, with Saturday reserved for men, and Sunday for women, so couples can avoid awkward encounters and retain a degree of anonymity.
Organiser Anton Barz says it is a world first and hopes it will become a twice-yearly event. "Until now, I organised wedding fairs but while talking to associations and lawyers who told me about the difficulties of divorce, I had this idea," he said.
Up to 20 exhibitors have registered so far, not only lawyers and mediators, but also estate agents, life-crisis experts, private detective firms and DNA laboratories offering paternity tests.
One company will offer therapeutic package holidays for newly divorced people. There will also be a series of lectures on subjects like how divorce affects children and coping as a single parent.