Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Lesbian couples five times more likely to split than gay men - new Irish figures

Wednesday, 27 July, 2016
Shane Phelan

Lesbian couples are much more likely to dissolve their relationships than gay ones, new figures published by the Court Service indicate.

The statistics show that 6pc of the 2,071 civil partnerships – the precursor to same-sex marriage – entered into between 2011 and 2015 ended up being dissolved.

However, there was a huge disparity between the proportion of gay and lesbian couples formally calling it a day.

Around 12pc of lesbian partnerships had been dissolved by the end of last year, compared with just 2.4pc of gay partnerships.

The reason for the disparity is unclear, but the statistics are broadly in line with trends abroad.

Of 1,298 gay civil partnerships, 31 ended with applications for a dissolution.

In comparison, of the 733 lesbian partnerships registered in Ireland, applications had been made to dissolve 88 of these up to the end of last year.

Data contained in the Courts Service Annual Report for 2015, published today, also revealed how the heterosexual divorce rate in Ireland was the highest it has ever been last year.

Following a lull during the recession, divorce applications surged by 9pc between 2014 and 2015.

Some 4,314 applications for divorce were made last year, according to the Courts Service Annual Report.

The figure tops 2008, the previous highest year, when 4,257 applications were made.

A similar rise was seen in applications for judicial separation, which removes the obligation on spouses to co-habit. There were 1,419 such applications, up from 1,301 the previous year.

The majority of applications for divorces and separations were made by wives.

The report also indicates that domestic violence is on the rise.

At the launch of the report, the Chief Justice and chair of the Courts Service board, Susan Denham, said it was “a matter of concern” that there had been a 35pc increase in applications for safety and protection orders over the past five years.

Applications made under domestic violence legislation surged by 6pc, including a 16pc rise in the number of protection orders.

Courts Service chief executive Brendan Ryan said domestic violence was “a particular concern” in Dublin with a 13pc increase in applications at the District Court.

He said additional staff had to be allocated to the district family law court to allow for additional sittings.

Major efforts have been made to encourage people to settle family law disputes through mediation, rather than through the courts.

A pilot initiative was introduced requiring litigants applying for legal aid in Cork and Athlone to attend a mandatory information session on mediation before they were granted representation.

Information sessions were also available in Dublin, Naas, Tipperary and Limerick. Some 2,382 parties attended such sessions nationwide last year with 549 final agreements reached.

The report also detailed how the High Court dealt with a surge in child abduction cases, up from 26 in 2014 to 41 last year.

Child care applications also rose significantly, up 11pc to 10,217.

Meanwhile, the report showed a 43pc reduction in drink driving orders made in the past three years.

Online Editors