The Brangelina divorce saga continues, with Angelina Jolie being given sole custody of the 6 children she shares with Brad Pitt on a temporary basis, until the couple reach a final decision.  

Sources have revealed that although Brad and Angelina have managed to come to an agreement, it’s not legally binding.   

Our Emma Hopkins Jones, Partner in Family Law, explores why Brad and Angelina need to keep the peace to stop their custody battle from getting nasty.

A broken family

News of Brangelina’s split hit the headlines in September 2016, after Angelina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and – more controversially – for the “health of the family”.

This happened soon after an incident was said to have taken place between Brad and his eldest son on board the family’s private plane. Initial rumours were that Brad was said to be drunk and abusive towards his son, and that Brad was under investigation by the authorities for alleged child abuse. Several sources said that he was being investigated by the LA County Department of Children and Family Services, even though this has never been confirmed by the department.

Brad has recently been cleared of any wrongdoing and the case against him has been closed.

Acting in the “children’s best interests”

With the help of childcare professionals, Brad and Angelina were able to reach an agreement that’s determined to be “in the children’s best interests”, according to a representative for Angelina.

This includes Brad having ‘therapeutic’ visits with his kids as well as both parties agreeing to have meetings with therapists.

Emma comments:

“Whilst coming to an amicable arrangement in the short term is a positive step forward for the family, unfortunately it seems this might not be the end of the matter.”  

“Angelina is seeking sole custody for all of her children, but Brad recently filed for joint custody – both of which are very different views.”

According to the Telegraph, representatives for the couple have stated that a final agreement will be part of Brad and Angelina’s divorce judgment when it’s entered.

Emma continues:

“Parents who are separating need to look beyond their personal feelings towards each other and should try to come to a fair agreement that takes into account what’s best for their children.”

“Brad seems to be more open to the idea of sharing care of the children with Angelina, but as Angelina is seeking sole custody this suggests she doesn’t want Brad’s involvement. This could pose a major source of conflict between the ex-couple, which might filter down to the children and cause even more heartache.”

“Providing that it can happen safely and there are no welfare issues, the children should be able to enjoy a relationship with both parents after their separation. Ideally, Brad and Angelina should try to keep their children in a familiar routine, especially at a time when their lives have been turned upside down.”

“Couples who are in the process of splitting up and finding it hard to come to a mutual agreement over arrangements for their children might find that mediation is a useful and fair option. Like Brad and Angelina, sometimes it’s best to seek professional help to make sure that personal feelings don’t get in the way of the well-being of any children involved.”