DIVORCE FOR MEN IN IRELAND

Most Irish men are vaguely aware that men get a raw deal in the divorce courts, but were you aware just how raw that deal is?

Some recent research by an Irish student has revealed some startling and disturbing facts:

A new study has found that 99 percent of Irish husbands lose their homes during divorces.

An Irish graduate law student, Róisín O’Shea,  has observed that during family law cases courts give one spouse the right to live alone in the family home. The husbands are favored only one percent of the time.

In seven out of ten cases the judge ordered a transfer of the property into the wife’s name.

During 160 contested cases when an order was made to sell the home the wife received more than half of the proceeds in 25 percent of the cases. During the other 75 percent the proceeds were split.

The graduate student has observed 493 judicial separation and divorce cases in Dublin, Cork and the southeast since October 2008. She observed that 73 percent of judicial separation and 54 percent of divorce application were filed by the wives.

“To date, all of the contested cases that I have observed were brought by the wife," said O’Shea, while speaking to the Sunday Business Post. “I have not seen a single case where the wife was ordered to pay maintenance for children or a spouse.

Without fail, where maintenance is at issue, it is the husband who has been ordered to pay.”

She also pointed out that in most contested maintenance cases the husbands argued that they were being denied access to their children. Although many of the father’s asked for joint custody she said that she had only observed this in two cases.

With falling property prices in Ireland the courts are also seeing people returning to the courts to re-visit financial orders when people have in negative equity or in arrears of mortgage payment.

In many cases she said “Agreements reached cannot be performed and maintenance orders cannot be discharged…This means that the judiciary are increasingly faced with the reality of debt division, rather than equitable provision."

...

Roisin O'Shea, the award-winning researcher who carried out the study, said that the courts were at risk of "setting men up to not be able to pay" their child maintenance because of the speed in which cases are heard and a failure by the justice system to examine ability to pay.

These figures are especially concerning when you consider that the number of divorced people in Ireland has risen by more than 150% in 10 years. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) the number of divorces in 2011 stood at 87,770 – up from 35,059 recorded in the 2002 census.

The number of married people in Ireland increased by almost 10% between 2006 and 2011. And the highest rates of marriage breakdown were in the cities, Limerick had the highest rate of divorce with 13.5%. Waterford and Dublin were second and third with 12.5% and 12.4% respectively.

Clearly this inequitable situation cannot be allowed to continue given the biased and unfair laws under which men labour in this supposed age of equality.

http://arcmedlaw.com/wp/docs/Headline_Findings_phd_ROS.pdf

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