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We’ve only had Divorce for 18 years – is that why we don’t deal with it well?

Press Release 

We’ve only had Divorce for 18 years –

is that why we don’t deal with it well?

(Dublin, Friday 27 February 2015) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating – reflects today on the 18 years since divorce legislation came into effect in Ireland on 27 February 1997. The passing of the Referendum on Divorce almost twenty years ago was a groundbreaking acknowledgment of the reality that families in Ireland exist in many forms and that marriage cannot always be forever despite best intentions.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “In 2013, Ireland had the lowest divorce rate in the EU at 0.6 per 1,000 of the population. We have the third lowest rate of divorce in the world despite fears voiced 18 years ago that the legalisation heralded the end of the family, while the rate of marriage and civil partnership is on the rise. The fact is that relationships do end, couples do separate. Sometimes they are parents too. What is important is that they are supported to separate well. Research shows that it is not family form that impacts on a child’s outcomes, but the quality of their relationships at home. Parental conflict has more adverse effects on children than parental separation.”

Karen continues: “With the right supports, parents can separate well, resolve conflict, manage finances, and ensure their children remain at the centre of parenting. No-one sets out to separate or divorce, especially as a parent, and it is often a very difficult time for all members of the family, with feelings of fear, anger or blame as a backdrop.  Service providers, the family law courts, and Government policy should be focussed on the provision of vital and affordable, services to support people to separate well, like One Family’s counselling, parent mentoring, and mediation services, which are still lacking in many areas around the country due to a lack of funding.”

“We know from working with parents going through separation and divorce that the process of obtaining a divorce is extremely costly and due to the law, requires an incredibly long time which can be destructive to families. The newly introduced Children and Family Relationships Bill will go some way to reforming family law courts but a lot more is needed,” Karen concludes.

People experiencing separation or divorce can call the askonefamily helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212 for information and support, or to find out more about One Family’s services for parents who are separating.  These include parent mentoring, mediated parenting plans, and programmes and workshops such as Impact of Parental Separation and Making Shared Parenting Work, details of which can be found here.

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About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those separating, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 66 2212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191