Grandparents Divorce Guardianship Non- Marital Relationships Family Dynamics Separation
Family Support Agency and Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin
Timonen, V., Doyle, M. and O'Dwyer, C. (with contributions from E. Moore), The Role of Grandparents in Divorced and Separated Families, Dublin, Family Support Agency and Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin, November, 2009
Despite the rapid and extensive changes in patterns of partnership formation and dissolution, there has been a dearth of information on
the effect of divorce and separation on nuclear and extended families in Ireland. The study at hand is the first study conducted in Ireland
with the view to understanding inter-generational relationships - the nature of contact and support between grandparents, grandchildren
and the divorced or separated parents - in the aftermath of relationship breakdown in the ‘middle’ generation.
The specific objectives of the study were as follows:
• To provide an overview of the Irish and international literature on grandparents of divorced families.
• To explore the experiences of grandparents following their children’s divorce/separation, with a specific focus on how the relationship with their children and grandchildren has changed.
• To characterise the relationships of grandparents and their grandchildren following divorce/separation.
• To explore whether, in the Irish context, the relationships of paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents with their grandchildren differ following divorce/separation
• To scope the range of inputs (social, personal, economic, practical and other) that grandparents make into the management of their children’s and grandchildren’s lives following relationship breakdown.
• To identify the challenges and rewards (and possible support needs) for grandparents who become more heavily involved in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives following divorce/separation.
• To explore the sentiments of grandparents who have less contact with their grandchildren than they would like to following divorce/separation.
• To characterise policies that could assist both grandparents who are heavily involved in supporting post-divorce families and grandchildren in particular, and those who are seeking more extensive contact with their grandchildren.
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