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Divorce, Irish style - It's not just Australia

Personal stories from men and women about family separation 20 years after divorce was introduced in Ireland.

A small collection of short accounts of the effect of family separation and divorce on men, women and children in Ireland.

Reading them brings home how similar the issues and experiences are to those of us here in Australia.

The Irish Times: My Divorce series

Divorce, Irish style
By Kate Holmquist, 17 January 2015
Almost 20 years ago, after a bitter debate, Ireland voted for the introduction of divorce. Almost 100,000 people have availed of the law since then. How have they fared, and what’s life like after marriage breakdown?

My Parents’ Divorce: Brian.
“Children are the unsung heroes of divorce”

February 8, 2015

I was in my early 20s in 1995, and passing the divorce referendum was so important. I chased flatmates who hadn’t voted down to the polling station and sat up half the night, listening to the radio and willing a Yes vote.

One year later my own parents separated. It wasn’t a surprise but the chaos and stress it created was more than I could have imagined. They divorced five  years after what seemed like never-ending rounds of horse-trading, trying to make a salary that had barely kept one family stretch to support two households. Our much loved family home was sold as part of the deal.

I was able to avoid a lot of the stresses by moving overseas but my school-aged siblings weren't so lucky. They were moved from pillar to post for a few years while my parents found equilibrium.

Children, of all ages, are the unsung heroes of divorce. Separated and divorced parents really owe them a debt of gratitude. Kids are so loyal and ultimately just want their parents to be happy, and will quietly put up with very difficult situations to make that happen. While separating parents want to do the best for their children, anger, bitterness or just broken-heartedness makes good decision making impossible. Rather than focusing  on dividing the spoils, the separation process should focus on the children first and foremost.

Even when the dust settles, and children grow up, the impact of divorce continues. For many, family events will always have underlying tensions and balancing the needs of any new partners or step families is a huge challenge. As I grow older it's the loss of the “home place” that brings the most sadness. I know my own children would have loved it as much as I did, but they will never have the chance to visit.

I still strongly believe that divorce is a basic right. No one should have to stay in an unhappy partnership. But when I look at where everyone has ended up, I’m not sure that what my parents gained from their divorce really outweighs what they lost. But I do know that what the children of that divorce lost is immeasurable.


My Divorce: Stephen. “My ex falsely accused me of child abuse and violence.”
February 6, 2015, 07:00

My divorce. Jean: ‘I will soon be in court for my second divorce’
January 30, 2015, 07:00

Mediation, an alternative to the divorce court
Sabine Walsh  January 29, 2015, 16:14

My divorce. Denis: ‘I still love my ex-wife and want our family back’
January 29, 2015, 07:00

My divorce. Emma: ‘On the back of a beer mat he scribbled, I’m leaving’
January 28, 2015, 07:00

My divorce. Mark: ‘There was no one else involved. I was overcommitted to my work’
January 27, 2015, 07:00

My divorce. Rebecca: ‘I was diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress-disorder’
January 26, 2015, 07:00

How to protect your children from the worst effects of divorce
John Sharry  January 24, 2015, 07:00
These five steps for parents can help minimise a separation’s effects on children

Ireland’s divorce regime: long, cumbersome and expensive
Carol Coulter  January 20, 2015, 01:00
 Divorce amendment passed in 1995 imposed two-stage process on divorcing couples

Divorce: the courtroom experience
Fiona Gartland  January 20, 2015, 01:00
Ugly scenes in court when couples get chance to air their grievances

How wife-swappin’ sodomites won the right to remarry
Kathy Sheridan  January 19, 2015, 12:13
1995 referendum that gave separated people the right to divorce was barely carried

How to get divorced for less than $400
Conor Pope  January 18, 2015, 15:30
A low-cost divorce is possible if the couple can reach amicable agreement. But that’s the one thing many separating couples can’t do

My divorce: ‘I can’t afford more legal fees’
Kate Holmquist  January 19, 2015, 12:23
Alison: ‘My ex left when I was pregnant with our eldest and he was deadbeat in that period’

My divorce: ‘I won't marry again, ever’
Kate Holmquist  January 19, 2015, 12:25

My divorce. Róisín: ‘Expect a lower standard of living’
Kate Holmquist  January 17, 2015, 01:00

My divorce. James: ‘There’s a fragility in me now’
Kate Holmquist  January 17, 2015, 01:00
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