University of Leicester
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A Socio-Legal Study of Divorce in Malta

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posted on 2020-07-15, 20:57 authored by Ann Marie Mangion
Maltese divorce legislation was enacted in October 2011 after a divorce referendum. The divorce referendum question was not a simple yes or no question. The referendum question asked the voters whether they agreed for divorce to be introduced in Malta on four conditions, three of which were made into law. These conditions were the following: 1) four years of separation; 2) no hope for reconciliation, and finally 3) that maintenance is being paid. On 28 May 2011, the majority of the voters voted for divorce to be introduced in Malta and in October 2011 the referendum conditions were made law.
The purpose of this socio-legal thesis was to determine the experience of the legislative introduction of divorce on women. To this end a mixed-methods empirical qualitative approach using focus groups and one-on-one interviews were used. A feminist legal theoretical framework was adopted, focusing on maternal feminism as the theory most relatable to the participants which was done by employing thematic analysis and a grounded theoretical approach. The data was thematically analysed, with three significant themes emerging: Control, Power and Gender Discrimination.
It emerged that the participants due to their belief in gender stereotypes, which reflect maternal feminism, believe that the divorce legislation is a good divorce legislation. They believe that the purpose of divorce legislation is not to grant a divorce, but rather, to reconcile and save marriages. Participants also expressed the wish to have more control exercised on the family to keep the spouses from divorcing.
The divorce legislation resulted in two contrasting experiences: a negative and a positive one. These effects were the result of the cultural background of the participants.



Mandy Burton; Dawn Watkins

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Law School

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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