In Colorado, depending on the county and the judge, a divorce case can last anywhere from a few months to over a year. The more issues there are, of course, the longer it might take. In Ohio, the typical duration of a divorce case is about the same – six to nine months if there are no children; about a year if child custody, support and visitation issues have to be addressed.
But one divorce case in Ohio may have set some kind of record. The two ex-spouses in that case have been in and out of court for 17 years – which is seven years longer than their marriage lasted. The divorce itself took five years; since then the ex-spouses have filed no fewer than 28 other cases arising out of their relationship. The two are both law professors, and several judges have noted that fact in admonishing the couple for violating court rules and abusing the legal system.
Child custody and visitation are apparently recurring issues for the couple. They have two children, now 17 and 20 years of age. Both parents have been awarded custody of the children and then lost it. The ex-husband claims he is not overly litigious, but is simply trying to be a good father. The Ohio Court of Appeals, on the other hand, has stated that the parents’ acrimony has been harmful to the children.
This case is an extreme example of a belligerent attitude by ex-spouses that does everyone more harm than good. Colorado courts deciding child custody cases strive for a resolution that is in the best interests of the child. Yet few things are as harmful to a child’s emotional development as being a pawn in a rancorous custody dispute. A good family law attorney will know when to fight for everything a parent is entitled to, and when the best interests of the child call for a more conciliatory approach.
Source: USA Today, “17-year divorce fight tests Ohio courts,” Aug. 12, 2013