The Pandemic Push: Divorce applications reaches highest record ever

Let’s face it — the past 18 months have been quite a challenge. Our entire lives were flipped upside down and at times it was even a struggle to simply survive. Unfortunately, many couples didn’t.

Plenty of couples were forced to spend every waking minute together for the very first time in their relationship, meaning they were seeing a different side of their partner which they've never seen before.

Suddenly the little annoyances become massive deal-breakers and the major flaws just can’t be ignored anymore. That’s why it should probably come as no surprise that more people than ever before applied for a divorce in Ireland last year.

According to new data from the Courts Service, 5,266 people applied for a divorce last year, which is a 29% increase when compared to the amount of applications submitted in 2019.

While it makes sense to believe that these changes of heart are simply due to the drastic change in living conditions last year, legal experts believe that it’s also due to changes within the law.

Up until last year, married couples could only apply for a divorce after being separated for four years. A referendum in 2019 resulted in the law being changed and couples only needing to be separated for two years. 

“One factor driving the increase is a whole new cadre of people became eligible for divorce in December 2019 as a result of the referendum,” explains solicitor Keith Walsh SC when speaking to

“Another factor is Covid. The effect of the pressure of lockdown on individuals was huge. Marriages which were under pressure maybe crumbled a little bit quicker,” he surmised.

Yet another pandemic casualty!