A divorce-related fight between two Ohio law professors has gone on for so long that at least one judge finds the entire ordeal “appalling.”
Christo and Sharlene Lassiter said “I do” in 1986. Ten years later, they filed for divorce. And although the divorce itself was wrapped up in about five years, legal battles related to their separation have gone on a full seven years longer than their actual marriage, cincinnati.com reports.
Christo, 56, is a law professor at the University of Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Sharlene, 52, who has since remarried and goes by the last name Boltz, is a law professor at Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law.
Their combined background in law has prompted at least one judge to issue a pretty scathing rebuke.
“I am really shocked, because when I was in law school my professors were outstanding. They never would have told me that behaving the way you all have, both of you, over the past 20 years, is acceptable behavior,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz said in July, adding that the couple should know better.
But rather than wrap up the fight in a timely fashion, the two have dragged out their divorce-related woes for nearly two decades. In fact, as the cinicatti.com report notes, the lawsuit had an astounding 1,400-plus entries filed in it, which is roughly 1,000 more than what is filed in a normal divorce case.
Referring to the ex-couple’s 17-year legal fight, attorney George Maley said it is "extremely rare."
A childless divorce can be over and done with in six to nine months, Maley said. A divorce involving children takes a little longer, but it can be completed in a year.
But 17 years? Rare.
Naturally, Lassiter and Boltz's fight has been particularly nasty, the latter regularly calling the police on the former. Their children, now 20 and 17, were regularly traded back and forth as custody switched from parent to parent, according to the filings.
The filings also show that more than one judge has complained about Lassiter and Boltz regularly violating the rules of the court (despite the fact that the estranged law professors should know better).
“(B)oth parties ought to be admonished by the State Bar of Ohio. Both are law professors and officers of the Court. Each has a duty to behave in a proper manner, particularly with regard to legal filings, and each has more than pushed the envelope with regard to abusing the court system,” Ghiz wrote.
“It is frightening to this Court that either is teaching current law students the boundaries and ethics of our profession. Both should be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of their behavior,” the judge’s note added.
The two have been involved in at least 28 cases against each other, including two that actually made it all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court (both were promptly thrown out).
The Cincinnati-based Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in 2002 slammed the ex-couple’s drawn out legal war.
“This court has not seen many domestic relations cases more contentious and acrimonious ... than this case. The parties, who are both law professors and who ought to know better, engaged in thoroughly inappropriate behavior that was detrimental to the resolution of their case and to the welfare of their children for which both claimed to be primarily concerned,” judges wrote.
And the fighting continues to this day. The next hearing is scheduled for September 6.
Click here to read more about the bizarre and lengthy war between Lassiter and Boltz.
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