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Marital Separation in Contemporary Ireland

Women’s Experiences

Lucy Hyland

This book is based on detailed interviews with a group of Irish women who have experienced marital separation. It links the women’s accounts with literature on the values and beliefs about marriage, women and family which were prevalent when they were growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The book chronicles their young adult years, the early stages of their marriages and the events and processes which led to their separations. It explores the women’s emotional reactions at the time of separating, the types of support which they found beneficial and the personal, social and financial consequences of having separated.
Although the book is written from a sociological perspective, the combination of theory and practical insights make it accessible to a wide variety of readers. It aims to generate discussion and deepen understanding of an area into which there has been minimal research in Ireland and which poses a range of important questions for future researchers, practitioners and policy-makers.
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Chapter 10: Experiences of Formal Support


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Experiences of Formal Support

In this chapter the fifth research question concerning the supports that the interviewees found most beneficial during the process of separation is addressed. Informal support from siblings, sisters in particular, parents, adult children, friends and work colleagues were identified as invaluable sources of support. The participants in the study also accessed formal support services. Their evaluation of the benefits of marriage counselling, mediation and legal advice services varied. This chapter presents data on the women’s experiences of attendance at personal counselling and peer support groups. In order to provide a context for the discussion, public policy and literature on separation support are reviewed initially.

Types of Support

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