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Divorce Cases Surge in Ireland for Third Consecutive Year

Dublin: Ireland has recorded a significant increase in divorce cases for the third year in a row, as detailed in the Courts Service annual report. The report sheds light on the growing number of family breakdowns in the country.

Divorce was legalised in Ireland in 1997. Prior to 2020, annual divorce cases ranged between 3,330 and 4,314. However, since last year, the number of cases has surpassed 5,000. In 2023, there were 5,856 divorce applications, marking an 11 percent increase from the 2020 record of 5,220.

Gender Disparity in Divorce Filings

The data reveals that more women are filing for divorce compared to men. In 59.3 percent of the cases last year, the divorce was initiated by female partners, up from 56.9 percent in 2020.

Impact of Legal Changes

A significant factor contributing to the rise in divorce cases is the change in the law in December 2019, which reduced the required period of separation for a divorce from three years to two. Prior to this change, couples needed to be separated for four years. This reduction has led to an increase in the number of people seeking divorces.

The majority of divorce applications are filed in the circuit court. Additionally, there were 48 high-profile divorce cases in the High Court last year, each involving assets worth more than three million euros. The highest record was in 2003, with 53 such cases. At that time, the High Court handled cases involving assets up to one million euros.

Concerns Over Court Pressure

Keith Walsh, a prominent family law solicitor, highlighted that the number of high-value cases reaching the High Court has doubled since 2019. He expressed concern that the need to transfer these cases to the circuit court could put immense pressure on the judicial system.


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