Divorce-related legal feud in Ohio lasts 17 years

CINCINNATI (AP) — A 17-year legal fight between two law professors over their divorce and continuing disputes has drawn criticism from judges who say the pair set a bad example.

The feud has lasted seven years longer than the couple's 10-year marriage, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/13dQDl8 ) reported. Their divorce case file had more than 1,400 entries in it. Many had to do with a back-and-forth custody dispute over their children, now ages 17 and 20. Among issues still being litigated is money.

Judges hearing the case complained the professors broke rules or abused the system.

"It is frightening to this court that either is teaching current law students the boundaries and ethics of our profession," Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz said during a July hearing. "Both should be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed."

University of Cincinnati professor Christo Lassiter questions how judges managed the cases between him and his ex-wife. He said his motivation has been being a good parent, not spite or revenge.

"Had a court stepped in and resolved the major issues cleanly and early, there would not have been voluminous (legal filings)," Lassiter said. His former wife, Sharlene Boltz, didn't immediately return a call Monday to her office at Northern Kentucky University.

Ghiz said both should be admonished by the Ohio State Bar Association. Judges in other courts also have blasted the couple's prolonged legal conflict.

"This court has not seen many domestic relations cases more contentious and acrimonious," the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeal wrote in 2002. "The parties, who are both law professors and 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."

The divorce itself took five years, about five times as long as what one veteran attorney, George Maley of Loveland, says would be a typical divorce case involving children. Boltz called police on Lassiter several times, and his paycheck was garnisheed for back child support, The Enquirer reported. Lassiter said she owes him money.

Their next court hearing is Sept. 6.


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