Home»Divorce Issues»Lessons In Letting Go: Do NOT Follow This Couple’s Lead

Lessons In Letting Go: Do NOT Follow This Couple’s Lead

DIY Divorce...or court...foreverThe case for a do it yourself divorce becomes more compelling when you look at examples of how holding on too tightly to spousal aggression and placing too much emphasis on material possessions can consume a person’s life.

Take, for example, the case of law professors Christo and Sharlene Lassiter, an Ohio couple that has been in and out of state courts for more than 17 years. USA Today recently featured the couple, who have tested the patience of judges throughout their state since 1996 when they first decided to file for divorce.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz had this to say to the couple during one of their recent actions: “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.”

In an opinion, Ghiz elaborated: “Both 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. 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.

Cincinnati’s 1st District Court of Appeals judges weighed in as well. Excerpted from an opinion: “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.”

(The Lassiter’s children are now 20 and 17.)

Why Are The Judges So Livid With The Lassiters? 

Christo, 56, and Sharlene, 52, had more than 1,400 entries in their case over the last 17 years. While most divorces take anywhere from six months (with no kids involved) to one year (with children) and amass a comparatively paltry 400 entries on average, the Lassiters have not been able to let go of the tension.

After spending five years on the actual divorce, they have continued to sue each other for 12 years in a total of 28 separate actions. Two of those actions even went to the Ohio Supreme Court, which refused to hear both cases.

Is It Really Worth It? 

Imagine being strapped to a partner from a failed marriage from your thirties clear up until retirement. The Lassiters are well on their way. While they’ve spent much of their careers teaching law, the only lessons you should learn from them are these:

  • If at all possible, get a DIY divorce. Whatever there is to gain from 17 years of litigation isn’t worth the peace of mind that comes in moving on with your life.
  • If doing it yourself is out of the question, commit to mediation for any issues that are contentious.
  • Realize what your own personal animosities are doing to your children. There have been numerous studies that show the negative effects of divorce on children. Now consider what the Lassiters’ children have gone through. From the time they became conscious of the world around them, their parents have been at odds with one another, teaching them that “normal” relationships need a judge to bring about conflict resolution. That’s a horrible message.

When do you think the time is right to draw the line on divorce-related conflicts?

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