Divorce down: warring couples can't afford it
Recession-hit couples can no longer afford to divorce or separate in the same numbers as they did during the boom.
One of the more accepted consequences of a recession is a stark increase in judicial separations and marital break-downs – but the opposite is now occurring in Ireland.
Statistics released by the CSO on Friday reveal that 77 more couples were divorced in 2012 than 2011.
But this minimal increase is more than outweighed by the figures from the Circuit Court, which reveal that divorces have fallen by about 20 per cent since 2008.
Responding to a query from Fine Gael TD John Deasy, the Justice Minister Alan Shatter has revealed that Circuit Court divorces fell from 3,588 in 2008 to 2,868 in 2012.
The number of judicial separations has declined even more starkly, from 1,180 in 2008 to 840 in 2012.
The director of the Free Legal Advice Centres, Noreen Blackwell, said: "The recession has led to a huge increase in families being put under strain due to unmanageable debts and unemployment."
So why, given that financial woes are placing relationships under stress, is the DIVORCE word becoming harder rather than easier to say?
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Deasy said he was "quite surprised by the figures because one of the factors that informed my decision to ask the (Dail) question (to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter) was that my experience in the constituency is that many marriages and relationships are under incredible strain".
He added that a key factor behind the figures may be that "it is harder for anyone to get a mortgage and move on. People instead are continuing to co-habit."