This past weekend, Italy held its first Divorce Trade Fair, which hosted a variety of lawyers, real estate agents, divorce planners, paternity testing centers, and dating agencies that talked with attendees about their options moving forward. The fair also featured some interesting guests, including a self-proclaimed seduction expert and the Slovenian Tourist Board (the Board put together “regenerative weekend” packages for divorcées).
The fair didn’t see big numbers of divorcées, but those who attended had specific agendas. A wedding planner commented that she went to the trade fair to see the other side of the business because she thinks it might be more lucrative in the future.
This idea of a lucrative divorce market might not be too far off. Divorces have more then quadrupled in Italy in the past 30 years, with over 81,000 separations and 50,000 divorces recorded within the country in 2007. A twice separated office worker interviewed at the fair said “We’ve turned into America. Everyone is on their second marriage.” Unfortunately, Italians are forced to wait longer to complete a divorce settlement. A lawyer at the fair explained that divorces in Italy usually take around 5 years to finish after the first separation hearing.
Italian courts also tend to be biased towards women when it comes to divorce cases. Umberto Vaghi, a real estate agent with the I Love Papá Association, frequently fights for fathers’ rights in Italy. He said his association has been “battling a cultural problem that discriminates against men and women,” because it “presupposes that children will stay with their mothers.” The Men’s Divorce Law Firm supports the fathers’ rights movement in Italy, and hopes that advocates continue to fight for equality in the courtroom.