This paper explores the experiences of fifteen Irish mothers who have undergone a
separation and/or divorce and highlights whilst both parents have a legal responsibility
to care for children in the event of a dissolution of marriage, the enforcement of such
responsibilities is deficient in the case of the absent parent. This is particularly
deleterious for mothers living in poverty. The narratives show their lived reality is
exacerbated by the failure of the state to enforce fathersí obligations at the time of
separation and divorce, which is untenable 22 years after the introduction of divorce.