Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

17 year divorce battle draws ire and criticism of judges

Celebrities are well known for getting married only to file for divorce weeks later. Some observers have even created a ranking system for stars with the shortest marriages or stars whose divorces took longer than their marriage lasted. While the spotlight shines brightly on celebrities, there are less famous couples whose own records can put the most outrageous celebrity divorce to shame.

Ten years of marriage is a goal that many couples will never obtain, which might be why one couple has chosen to hold on to each other in the oddest of venues, a divorce court. After ten years of marriage, the couple filed for divorce in 1996 and they have been litigating the divorce ever since.

While the decree was awarded five years into the divorce process, the ex-spouses have together filed over 1,400 different entries in their divorce case. Their divorce is now in its 17th year and has lasted 10 years longer than their marriage. Moreover, the divorce proceedings are expected to continue. The couple is made up of two law professors and multiple judges have made comments about both of them violating the rules of the court among other infractions. Out of the 28 additional cases the pair filed, three still remain.

For some a divorce decree is the end of their relationship with their former spouse, but for others it may just be the beginning. Courts allow for post-divorce modifications to agreements if they are agreed upon or a finding of fraud or misrepresentation is located regarding the original decree.

In high asset cases property division and liquidation of assets can take years to complete and may require frequent court intervention. Couples with children can have child support and custody issues that remain even after a child is emancipated.

While divorces lasting 17 years are rare it is not unusual for a divorce to last upwards of a year or more. The more complicated the divorce the more a qualified professional can help a person during their proceedings.

Source: USA Today, "Divorce battle rages for 17 years, with no end in sight," Aug. 13, 2013

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