Did a Rising Divorce Rate End Saturday Morning Cartoons?

With a new Justice League movie on the big screen, some are asking why the costumed superheroes are no longer on network television. According to one observer, no-fault divorce laws may have closed the Hall of Justice, accomplishing what Lex Luthor and his ilk could never pull off.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Super Friends/Justice League might draw 20 million viewers on a Saturday morning. By the 1980s, that number had dwindled to two million, and that decline coincides with skyrocketing divorce rates. It seems that part-time parents were no longer content with allowing to stare at the TV screen for several hours each weekend, as divorced moms and dads sought more “quality time” with their children. Other factors, most notably the rise of kids-only cable channels that were exempt from federal broadcasting rules, also contributed to the change.

After years of decline, the last “Saturday morning cartoon” signed off in 2008.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

California Governor Ronald Reagan signed one of the country's first no-fault divorce laws in 1968; over the next ten years, most other states followed suit. Effective January 2016, Illinois abolished all evidence-based divorces, like adultery and cruelty, and all marriage dissolutions in the state must now be based on “irreconcilable differences.” While many observers hailed the end of the need for couples to air their “dirty laundry” for everyone to see, some expressed dismay as abuse victims seemingly lost some of their power.

But fault in the breakup of the marriage can still be relevant for property division purposes, because dissipation (waste) of community assets is expressly relevant for property division purposes, and arguably relevant in determining the amount and duration of spousal support payments. Such dissipation takes place if, for example, Husband spends thousands of dollars buying gifts for various girlfriends or Wife maintains a “love nest” with another man.

It may be unrealistic to expect a night-and-day difference in the property settlement or alimony determination, because these laws are not designed to punish wayward spouses. The judge, however, will certainly consider any and all inequities when making a division.

For prompt assistance with a marriage dissolution matter, contact an experienced family law attorney in Naperville today. We routinely handle cases throughout the greater Chicagoland area.


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