Divorce Court

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Weekdays 2:00 PM on FOX Premiered Aug 30, 1999 In Season

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7.2
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Divorce Court

Show Summary

Courtroom-themed shows have been a staple of syndicated television for many years. One of the earliest and most enduring examples of this realtiy-based genre (long before the term "reality TV" had even been coined) is Divorce Court. It may be hard for some of today's younger audiences to believe, but the original Divorce Court bowed in 1957 and lasted 12 years in daily syndication. A new, harder-edged Divorce Court bowed in 1985 and ran another five seasons. The current version, involving real-life divorcing couples and even more hard-edged, bowed in 1999. In both versions, divorcing couples presented their stories before the judge – Voltaire Perkins in the 1950s and 1960s version; William B. Keene (best known for presiding over the William Bonin "freeway killer" trial) issued his rulings in the 1980s. A new case was presented each day, with usually – but not always – both litigants seeking a divorce. The court reporter briefed the TV audience on the basics (the names, reasons for the divorce, how long they've been married and other issues the soon-to-be ex-couples wanted resolved (including child custody and asset division)). The attorneys each gave opening statements, while the litigants, along one or two supporting witnesses, giving their side of the story and enduring cross-examination. Many of the stories involved accusations of cruelty, adultery, desertion and irreconcilable differences, while the cases often had many strange twists and turns. And – rather than focus on the henpecked wife's affair with the milkman or the husband's meddlesome mother interfering with and ultimately ruining the marriage – Divorce Court focused on more sensational cases with "shock value." For example: • A father who deliberately involved his children in "accidents" so he could collect on the insurance. He would pay them off by offering them presents and other rewards. • The woman who hosted male-stripper parties overnight while her husband was "working late" and suspected of having an affair of his own. Frequently, the judge interviewed minor children involved in cases where child custody was at issue. The judge always rendered his decision by the end of the program and resolved other divorce issues, such as alimony, division of assets and child custody. Although the cases were fiction, they were said to be based on real-life divorce cases. Many of the stories during the 1957 and 1985 versions of Divorce Court explored serious issues, including racism, alcohol and drug abuse, war, cancer, grief, pornography and much more. In later years of the 1980s version, some divorce proceedings were played out over multiple shows; litigants (instead of spending five minutes on the stand and enduring a one-minute cross-examination), now could possibly spend the entire program on the stand. The court reporters interviewed the litigants prior to each show. Unlike the 1957 and 1985 incarnations, which used actors as the litigants and student attorneys to argue each case, the 1999 revival of Divorce Court was promoted as settling real-life divorce cases invovling acutal couples. The couples presented their stories before Judge Mablean Ephriam, who gave her decision and settled the requisite divorce issues at the end of the show. On Wednesday, April 1, 2009 and Thursday, April 2, 2009, a special two-part session of Divorce Court will air starring former evangelical prearcher Ted Haggard and his wife Gayle. Ted was one of America's most influential and respected Christian leaders until his secret life unfolded in the media headlines, with accusations of a drug fueled, affair with a male prostitute. Tune in and find out what Judge Toler has to say to both Ted and Gayle about the scandal that shocked the nation and made the once popular pastor an outcast.moreless

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/23/2002

Season 2 : Episode 0

Joseph ("Joe") J. Catalano Sr.

Joseph ("Joe") J. Catalano Sr.

Bailiff

Lynn Toler

Lynn Toler

Judge (Sep. 2006 - Present)

Colin Male

Colin Male

Court Reporter (1957-1969)

Randy West

Randy West

Interviewer (pilot)

Rusty Burrell

Rusty Burrell

Bailiff (1957-1969)

Mablean Ephriam

Mablean Ephriam

Judge

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Feminist Judge On Rampage

    1.0
    This show should be called Woman's Court because men do not stand a chance. Judge Toler's uneven distribution of so-called fairness and justice is an obvious abuse of feminist authority. This show is a joke. I am sick of seeing her lashing out at the men and coddling the woman. Especially, when she feels the need to take the woman into her chambers and speak ill of the man away from his ability to defend himself. I have yet to see her take a man into her chambers and do the same for him. This show is a joke and a traversty.moreless
  • PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPRATE TO GET ON .

    8.0
    THIS MORING ON THE JERMEY KYLE SHOW THE PEOPLE ANTHONY AND LAMEKA WHERE ON. A MATTER OF FACT IT WAS A TWO PART SERIES. DO THESE PEOPLE LIKE PUTTING THERE BUSINESS IN THE PUBLIC OR ARE THEY LOOKING TO JUST TO SEE THEIR ON
  • You'll definitely learn about love and hate

    7.0
    on this show! Like the stories on this show are appalling sometimes. It's a shame to see how many Americans divorce, but this show will definitely teach you how to overcome your bad experience in finances and love mishap. Some people really don't love each other to begin with. America is so odd for this... and this show makes me laugh at stories like that, but it also makes me cry. Emotional and empowering in an odd way!moreless
  • I was shocked and disgusted in yesterdays broadcast of divorce court on april 30,2007. when the judge made racial comments. thats terrible when will we all grow up . ecpecially know we have judges makeing racial commetntsmoreless

    8.5
    I was shocked and disgusted in yesterdays broadcast of divorce court on april 30,2007. when the judge made racial comments it was gross and uncalled for . i will never watch this show again. She should be impeached off the bench. when she said us sister dont like it when our brother date white woman. that is so racial . its disgusting. does she even realize what she said. if tables were turned it would of been an all out war. who cares about what race any one is. i could care less. i have many friends and family of all different races and i find it affensive that a judge would put races in group this is one of many reasons why there is racism in america. That judge should be off the bench. thanks youmoreless
  • Male Bashers

    1.0
    The score should go to negative infinity because that is where shows like this belong.



    Why is it that they rule against a male in a male vs. female case most of the time. Is it because 1 - you do not beleive that a male can tellthe truth Nno mater what they state, 2 - iT would hurt your ratings, 3 - You have a cokplex against males, or 4 - You are purely and simply just a male basher. They need to realize that if there were no males on this planet, then the blanks and the blank wanna-bes, like them would die off and that would be a blessing to this civilzation.moreless
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    • todays show
      I am watching Divorce court and the case now is a moron who wanted his wife to wait for his game to be over when she was in labor....
      06/14/11
      1
    • just a note..
      Judge Toler -- I watched your show today -- It alone helped me realize that my husband is a deadbeat loser. My parents have never...
      06/14/11
      2
    • While I sit and wonder
      Hello, As I sit and wonder why life is so hateful and full of broken dreams and promises. I still sit and wonder why? I wait for ...
      06/14/11
      1
    • I Don't Want To Lose Him
      Hello, I'm going through a situation where my husband is now seeing and living with a so called friend, well she is not a friend ...
      06/08/11
      1
    • Where is Judge Maybeline?
      I've caught the previews for the new Divorce Court, and there is a new judge on the show. Does anyone know where Judge Ephram went...
      04/27/11
      12
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