It’s been two years since Mr & Mrs Smith parted ways and nearly as long since their child custody case began. So what’s up with our favorite divorcées, the couple formerly known as Brangelina?
Last we heard, Brad’s happy and Angelina is in danger of losing primary custody of the kids. We’ve kept tabs on their public divorce and child custody battles, and today we’ve picked a few lessons on child custody disputes for divorcing spouses. We feel it’s our duty to share them, as family lawyers and chroniclers of celebrity family law cases.
Lesson #1: The children need to have a healthy relationship with the other parent during an ongoing divorce
By now, it’s pretty clear that Brad and Angelina no longer have a relationship. But that’s not the most devastating thing about the split; it’s that Angelina might lose primary physical custody of Maddox, Shiloh, Pax, Vivienne, Knox, and Zahara if she continues to shield them from their father.
Learn from Angelina’s mistake and don’t do the same. Judges are unlikely to sympathize with a vindictive spouse who blocks the children from seeing the other parent. In their case, the judge declared, “It was critical that each of them have a healthy and strong relationship with their father and mother.”
Of course, if Angie had been successful in proving Brad unfit to parent their kids, she would have succeeded in keeping sole custody. Unfortunately for her, Brad loves the kids as much as he loves playing dress up with Cloon-Dog.
Lesson #2: The children need to be in constant communication with the other parent
That means iPhones for everyone, you lucky little Pitt-Jolies!
The judge’s order for all the children to have regular phone calls with their father is in line with ensuring positive relations with him.
But the order is a lot more specific than ‘kids must have quality phone calls with dad.’ Here are the court’s specific orders:
- Angelina must allow Brad to call the kids anytime he wants
- Angelina must never read the children’s texts
- Angelina must not monitor their phone calls
Although she’s a fine actor who could probably mimic each of the kids’ voices, doing so could cost her this custody dispute.
It’s difficult to imagine Angelina having the time to eavesdrop on her children’s conversations. Maybe we’re underestimating her capabilities a little bit, but this is clearly meant to warn her that further attempts to interfere with the children’s relationships with The Bradster won’t go unnoticed.
Lesson #3: The children should never be too far away from the other parent
If you thought the modern retelling of Maleficent’s origin story was problematic, wait till you hear what its sequel is doing to its star’s personal life!
To work on the upcoming film ‘Maleficent 2,’ Angelina had to fly to London and shoot for four weeks. Brad was understandably unhappy with the prospects of a month without the youngsters around, so he foiled Angelina’s malefic scheme to take all the kids with her.
As a result, they were given a court-appointed schedule indicating the number of hours Brad should spend with the kids per day (excluding Maddox who is 16 and can decide on his own with whom he wants to spend his summer) and what Angelina should and shouldn’t do while the kids are with dad.
Although this is not a problem every divorcing couple faces, the message is clear: Attempts to sabotage the children’s relationship with the other parent will be punished, whether or not said other parent is an A-list Hollywood star.
Almost every court in America will make these child custody decisions based on the children’s best interests. So if the court deems it to be in the children’s best interest to have a healthy relationship with mom and dad, then that’s what the couple will have to follow.
That said, the best interests of a Pitt-Jolie child are totally different from that of a normal child. This is our roundabout way of saying that the children’s best interests during a divorce depend on many factors, particularly concerning the parents’ mental and physical health, ability to co-parent, and more.
If you can relate with either Brad’s or Angie’s situation, give family lawyers Buckingham, LaGrandeur or Williams a call to help you get the custody agreement you deserve.