The number of divorces sought through the courts increased slightly in Ireland last year, according to an annual report by the courts service. The Circuit Court granted 3,658 divorces in 2007, an increase of 7 percent on the previous year. The corresponding figure for divorces granted by the High Court fell to 26 from 47. The number of judicial separations has shown a gradual increase over the years. Last year 1,167 judicial separations were granted by the Circuit Court and a further 18 in the High Court. Under Irish law a couple must live apart for four out of five years before a divorce can be granted. The 'Family Law Matters' report also noted a significant change in the gender of applicants seeking divorce and separation. Based on current figures, women are almost twice more likely than men to make a legal application to annul or terminate a marriage.

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