Divorce Applications show significant rise

The recent publication of the Court Service annual report provided details in relation to the numbers of court applications for Divorce in 2020. There was a startling rise in Divorce applications of 5,266 which was up from 4,073 in 2019 and 3,888 in 2018.

Of these the vast majority were instated in the Circuit Court i.e. 5,222 whereas 46 were initiated in the High Court.

Of the 5,222 lodged in the Circuit 2,980 were instituted by women.

There is no doubt that a significant reason for the increase in Divorce applications is the fact that the reduction in the requirement for “living and apart” from four years to two years meant that significantly more potential applicants were entitled to bring Divorce applications in 2020 whereas they wouldn’t have been before the 2019 legislation was enacted.

What is likely to happen in the coming years is that there will be fewer applications for judicial separation as parties who are in unhappy relationships may be prepared to wait the two years so as to issue Divorce proceedings and have all matters dealt with in the context of one court application i.e. Divorce rather than having to issue proceedings for a Separation and subsequently issue proceedings for a Divorce.

One other feature of current Family Law practice is that even in circumstances where parties issue Judicial Separation proceedings it is very often the case that before the proceedings are finalised the parties will have been living separate and apart for two years (time spent living separate and apart in the family home can be counted as part of the two years) and divorce proceedings can then be issued and any decisions of the Court can be made in the context of a Divorce.

 

If you have any enquiries in relation to any family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon or Lorna McArdle on 01-2960666.