What the New Ruling Means in the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Custody Case
The custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie just heated up, with a judge ordering new restrictions for Jolieâs involvement in Pittâs interaction with their six children.
According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Jolie could be in danger of losing primary custody of the children if she doesnât take steps to improve their relationship with their father. A judge in the coupleâs ongoing divorce case said in the documents that âit is critical that each of [the six] children have a healthy and strong relationship with their father and mother,â and that Jolie must allow Pitt to maintain and repa ir that.
Family law attorney David Glass, who is not associated with the case, tells PEOPLE that it âis extremely rareâ to see a court intervene in this way, though they typically do so after extensive evaluation and to prevent children from being alienated from one parent.
âIt looks like what this judge was weighing was the difference between estrangement and alienation,â says Glass, who has not had access to the court documents. âThe difference there is, estrangement is when children arenât connected to one of the parents, mainly because of something that parent did. So a hypothetical, if dad screams and yells at the kids and doesnât treat them nicely, the kids stop wanting to see dad, thatâs estrangement. An alienation refers to wh ere children have been told by the other parent that the parent theyâre not seeing is bad, or doesnât like them, or doesnât care about them. Just talking badly about the other parent and the kids start to internalize what the other parent is telling them. In alienation cases, kids will typically just repeat words that are beyond their years, or they will repeat reasons that they donât possibly have access to the information.â
He adds: âItâs a rare case where the court will find that someone alienated the kids. It takes a lot to move the court past estrangement into alienation, but once itâs determined that one parent is alienating the kids, the court has no choice but to jump in and make pretty strong orders right away.â
The judge also outlined specific steps Jolie should take to aid Pittâs access to and relationship with the children, including a detailed summer visitation schedule, and easy phone access between Pitt and each of the kids, without monitoring or interference from their mom. Glass says that the goal of the new guidelines is to âtry to figure out whatâs in the childrenâs best interest.â
âThe schedule worked out by the court is the typical post-alienation reunification schedule,â he says. âYou see them a couple hours a day and that starts leading to full days and eventually if things go well it leads to overnights, so youâre slowly acclimating the kids to the parent whoâs been cut out of the kids lives.â
According to the court documents, the kids have to continue to see their therapist with Pitt, which Glass says is a positive step.
âThatâs the first good news, that the kids are in therapy and that dad is somehow involved in the therapy. Thatâs where the kids can work out whatever issues they have. Itâs that continuing contact with dad â¦ all those little pieces that eventually lead to some sort of reunification with their dad.â
Reps for both Jolie, 43, and Pitt, 54, have not yet responded to a request for comment. Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt on September 19, 2016. The have six children: Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 12, and 9-year old twins Vivienne and Knox.Source: Google News US Entertainment | Netizen 24 United States