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Did Less Restrictive Marriage Dissolution Laws End Saturday Morning Cartoons?

With a comic book-themed movie in theaters this spring, and more on the way this summer, some people are wondering what happened to the Saturday morning cartoon versions of these costumed superheroes. There is one school of thought that no-fault divorce laws may have closed the Hall of Justice, thus accomplishing the goal that always eluded Lex Luthor and his ilk.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Saturday morning cartoons earned routinely 20 million viewers. But ratings began to decline, and by the end of the 1980s, the programs attracted two million viewers. Not coincidentally, then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed California’s no-fault divorce law in 1968, and within the next fifteen years, most other states had followed suit. The divorce rate skyrocketed, and along with it, part-time parenting households multiplied. Many of these parents were no longer content with letting their children spend half their Saturdays watching television, preferring to spend “quality time” with their offspring. New regulations from the Federal Communications Commission regarding children’s television programming, along with the rise of kid-friendly cable channels that were exempt from these rules, also contributed to the trend.

By 1995, most networks had pulled the plug on Saturday morning cartoons; the last one signed off in 2014.

Divorce Law in Florida

Until a few years ago, both fault divorces, based on adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and other marital misconduct, as well as no-fault marriage dissolutions, which are based on “irreconcilable differences.” But many states are abandoning fault-based divorce, and Florida followed that trend.

Now, according to Section 61.052, a Florida divorce may be based on:

  • Irretrievably Broken: Even if one spouse testifies that the marriage is salvageable, the matter will proceed, because if only one party wants to continue the marriage, the relationship is quite clearly “broken.”
  • Mental Incapacity: If a spouse has been legally incompetent for at least three years, the divorce may proceed and the judge may award alimony.

Fault in the breakup of the marriage, including adultery, is expressly relevant in alimony proceedings. Fault is indirectly relevant in property division proceedings. For example, if the husband spent $10,000 on a vehicle down payment for a girlfriend, that expenditure can be considered dissipation (waste) of marital assets, and the community estate may be entitled to reimbursement.

Divorce Procedure

Events transpire very quickly in most Florida divorces. The judge typically holds a temporary hearing in the first month after the petition is filed; in many cases, depending on how quickly the respondent is served and any requests for emergency relief, this hearing may take place within a few days.

In addition to generic orders about child custody and property division, most temporary orders contain provisions for temporary child support and alimony, as well as an interim visitation schedule. These orders are appealable, in some cases.

These orders often serve as blueprints for the final orders, and provisions regarding conservatorship and support are normally difficult to undo. This reality underscores the need for an aggressive attorney in the early stages of a marriage dissolution.

Partner with Assertive Lawyers

For prompt assistance in a Port St. Lucie marriage dissolution proceeding, contact the experienced attorneys at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.

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