The 1986 referendum to remove the ban on divorce was won on the financial interpretation of the issues surrounding the debate. It is not divorce but marital breakdown which results in financial hardship and poverty for those involved.
Discusses in detail the financial consequences of marital breakdown Gives an extensive account of policy options open to government to alleviate poverty Examines the inter-relationship between maintenance and social welfare payments.
In 1986 the proposal to remove the constitutional ban on divorce was rejected by over two thirds of those who voted in the referendum. One of the issues central to the debate was that the financial consequences of divorce meant poverty for women and children, and yet the debate was conducted in the absence of any detailed empirical evidence on the financial crises faced by separated spouses in Ireland. Unfounded assumptions were made about how Irish family law operates in practice, together with confused discussion about the role of social welfare payments.Divorce is once again on the national agenda, with the government's 1992 White Paper on Marital Breakdown proposing another referendum on the issue. However, the proposals fail to address the financial consequences of divorce in any detail. In this pamphlet the author argues that it is the separation of spouses, and not their divorce which often leads to financial crisis, and that the anti-divorce lobby is trading on simplistic and misleading slogans which ignore an ever-increasing problem. The current reality is that the constitutional ban on divorce does not protect Ireland from the problems of poverty after marriage breakdown.The financial consequences of marital breakdown demand a sophisticated and positive response from the state, and from an informed public.