Waterford has shot to the top of the table when it comes to divorce applications, according to the latest figures from the Courts Service.
The Déise county has leapfrogged Carlow and Dublin, which make up the rest of the top three, based on divorce applications per head of population.
Newly released details of divorce and judicial separation for 2018 show that there were 3,864 applications to the circuit court for divorce that year. Another 1,238 couples looked for a judicial separation, which can allow husbands or wives to part company in a more straightforward way.
In terms of divorce applications, the rate per 100,000 of population nationally was just over 81.
Ten counties exceeded that figure with the rate in Waterford highest of all at 102 divorces per 100,000 of population. Second on the list was Carlow (97), followed by Dublin (92), with the next highest Westmeath (89).
At the far end of the scale, the lowest rate of divorce was in Co Cavan where there were 54 divorce applications for every 100,000 people. It was followed by Roscommon (at 56) and Meath (57 per 100,000).
In terms of the numbers, Dublin had by far the highest number of applications for divorce with a total of 1,233 couples looking to split.
Next was Cork with 463 while at the other end of the table, the country’s least populated county Leitrim had just 25.
Women were considerably more likely than men to apply for divorce. The figures show that 55.8% of applications — or 2,155 in total — came from wives.
Judicial separation remained an option for many couples with 861 women and 377 men applying for such a split in 2018, a gender ratio of seventy to thirty.
Rates of application for judicial separation compared to divorce can differ dramatically among counties as well.
In Westmeath for example, there were almost five times as many applications for divorce as there were for judicial separation.
However, in Cork – there were just under two and a half divorce applications for every one for judicial separation.
The outcome of divorce settlements were most likely to include “extinguishing succession rights” with that a feature of 3,174 cases decided last year.
The next most likely outcome of a divorce was a pension adjustment order (1,869), custody or access orders (1,365), or a periodic payment to a child (1,208).
According to the Courts Service, each divorce settlement can include a multiple of such conditions.
A small number of applications were also made for “nullity” nationwide with 20 such cases recorded according to the data.
Among the reasons allowed for a “nullity” declaration are mental incapacity, lack of consent, or that one or other of the couple are “incapable of sexual intercourse”.
Of the nullity applications, 60% were made in the major population centres of Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Limerick.
The figures also say that 31 applications were made for an underage marriage exemption. In 2018, 15 such applications were granted and one refused but no further detail has been provided on the circumstances involved.