Updated: 26/07/17 : 05:38:32
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Women key movers in marriage, partnership splits

Special Report

WOMEN ARE the main movers in seeking divorces, separations and dissolution of civil partnership in Ireland.

The statistics emerge in the 2016 annual report of the Courts Service published yesterday, Tuesday.

Formal presentation of the report to the Minister for Justice, Charles Flanagan, was made by Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham.

Retire Shortly

She will retire shortly and it is now expected the Government may name her successor as early as today, Wednesday

Most divorce and separation applications arrive on the desk of the Circuit Court, yesterday's report showed.

In 2016, 2,374 divorce applications were made by ''wife'' to the Circuit Court, with just ten to the High Court.

A total of 1,788 applications for divorce from ''husband'' came to the Circuit Court and only seven to the High Court.

One Refused

The requests for judicial separations showed that in both courts the majority came from women.

Overall, the requests for judicial separation -- which removes the obligation on spouses to co-habit -- was down five percent on 2015.

One application for such separation was refused last year, said the annual report.

The Circuit Court granted 701 judicial separation, while eight were granted in the High Court.

Women outnumbered men nearly 3-1 last year in making requests for such separations.

Circuit Court records for 2016 confirm that 971 under the heading ''wife'' applied for judicial separation -- with 24 applicants to the High Court.

The comparative stats showed 353 ''husband'' applicants -- with five to the High Court in  2016

'Wife Swopping'

Ireland approved divorce in November 1995 by just half a percent, less than 10,000 votes nationwide.

Early stages of that campaign had seen support of over 70% countrywide for divorce.

But this dipped and dwindled during a long and sometimes acrimonious campaign.

Looking back, fears were expressed at the time was that men would 'lose the family farm.'

Colourful campaigners on the 'No' side described some of the men as ''wife swopping Sodomites.''

Meanwhile, the courts can also dissolve civil partnership in a similar way to the granting of divorce, notes yesterday's report.

In 2016, there were 62 such applications -- one to the High Court and 61 to the Circuit Court.

That sole High Court applicants was ''male'' but it is mostly women who initiate civil partnership dissolutions.

Yesterday's annual report reveals that 71% of those Circuit Court bids to dissolve civil partnerships came from ''females.''