Licensed to Practice in Texas and Colorado

Family Law and The Super Friends

How The Divorce Rate Killed Saturday Cartoons

Liberalized Marriage Dissolution Laws And The Super-Friends

The continuing popularity of comic book-themed movies has caused some people to wonder why Batman, Superman, and their costumed colleagues ended their run on Saturday morning cartoons. Some observers suggest that no-fault divorce laws may have closed the Hall of Justice, thus accomplishing a goal that always eluded Lex Luthor and his ilk.

From the 1960s to the late 1970s, Saturday morning cartoons routinely drew 20 million viewers, but by the 1980s, that number had dwindled to about two million. Not coincidentally, then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed California’s no-fault divorce law in 1968. As the divorce rate skyrocketed, the number of part-time parents increased commensurately; many of these moms and dads eschewed three or four hours of television time in favor of “quality time” with their offspring. In 1992, NBC became the first network to pull the plug on Saturday morning cartoons.

Other factors, most notably the advent of new Federal Communications Commission rules concerning children’s programming and the rise of cartoon-only cable networks that were exempt from these requirements, also sent the super-heroes packing.

Divorce in Texas

Most marriage dissolutions in the Lone Star State are based on the no-fault “insupportability” provision in Section 6 of the Family Code. However, in some  cases, a spouse has a legitimate personal or religious motivation to seek an evidence-based divorce. Moreover, fault in the breakup of the marriage can be a factor in Texas property division arrangements.

In most cases, these grounds can be proved by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not. They are:

  • Adultery: Online pornography and chat room use do not qualify as “adultery” in Texas, although such behavior may be evidence of another form of marital misconduct. Adultery is a “fault” ground for a divorce only if there voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one who is not the spouse of the offender.
  • Cruelty: Most judges look for one major event, like a domestic violence arrest, or recurrent abusive behavior.
  • Abandonment: The wayward spouse must declare an intention to permanently abandon the relationship and remain away for at least a year.
  • Felony Conviction: A fault divorce can be granted in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is convicted of a felony during the marriage and serves at least one year in prison.

In addition to insupportability, other no-fault grounds include involuntary confinement in a mental hospital and non-cohabitation — regardless of intent, living apart for at least three years can be a basis for divorce.

There are some common law defenses to fault grounds for divorce, other than lack of evidence. Condonation, which means that the victim spouse learns about the adultery and agrees to continue the marriage, or forgives the cruelty, is a defense if there is also a reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Mental illness is also a defense to any fault ground for a divorce.  However, recrimination – a cheating spouse’s claim that his misconduct was induced by or in retaliation for the other spouse’s adultery or other misconduct, is not a defense to a suit for divorce.

There are several options for divorce in Texas. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in McKinney, contact the Law Office of Bryan D. Perkins. Convenient payment plans are available.

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