Steven Fernandez |

Divorce

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016. Nearly two years later, it does not seem as if Jolie and Pitt are any closer to finalizing their split. In California, divorcing spouses have an obligation to agree on the terms of their split before it can become official. For the past 18 months, the couple has taken painstaking measures to keep the details of their divorce private. Recently, however, the Pitt/Jolie divorce has become worldwide news, once again. Continued disputes over custody and support will only extend an already drawn-out divorce.

Custody Disputes

One of the primary reasons that Jolie requested a divorce from Pitt was the safety and wellbeing of their children. In fact, Jolie even accused Pitt of being abusive to their children. Pitt denied allegations of abuse but admitted that his drinking had prevented him from being the best possible parent. As a result, Pitt was only initially granted supervised visitation with his youngest kids after the divorce process began. Pitt was investigated for domestic violence and ultimately cleared of all charges.

In June 2018, Pitt became unhappy with the couple’s child custody arrangement. Jolie had indicated that she wanted to move the children with her to Europe for the summer while she worked on a film. The Los Angeles Superior Court sided with Pitt, stating that it would be harmful to the children if they did not have a relationship with their father. As a result, the court issued a temporary custody order for the summer and granted custodial rights to both parents. Jolie was then prohibited from taking the children to Europe for the entire summer. Pitt is entitled to spend time with the children in Los Angeles and Europe for designated periods of time.

Temporary orders will cease to be effective when the couple can hammer out the details of their divorce.

Fighting Over Child Support

Earlier this month, Angelina Jolie formally accused Pitt of failing to pay “meaningful” support for their six young children. According to reports, the couple never formally set out support requirements for either spouse. However, the pair did have an informal agreement in place. Pitt’s attorneys have aggressively denied allegations of underpayment. In a response to Jolie’s accusation, they stated that Pitt has paid more than $1.3 million to support Jolie and their children since mid-2016. Pitt’s attorneys have also pointed to an $8 million loan from Pitt to Jolie, which was used to help her purchase a home, as proof that he has been there to financially support his family.

Pitt and Jolie have the right to try to figure out support requirements on their own. However, their divorce will not be finalized until they can see eye to eye. If they can’t come to a mutual agreement with the aid of a mediator or arbitrator, they will have to look to the court for help. A court will assess each parent’s ability to pay and the amount of time each spends with the kids when deciding how much child support is appropriate.

Keeping Negotiations Private

In early 2017, Pitt and Jolie obtained a court order that allowed them to keep the records of their divorce sealed from the public. They have also stated that they are committed to negotiating the divorce privately with the aid of a private judge. However, recent public statements and filings by Jolie indicate that the desire to keep the details of the split private may no longer exist. Jolie has made it quite clear that she wants to get the divorce finalized by the end of the year. She may feel that drawing the attention of the media and public will help to move the process along.

While Pitt and Jolie can attempt to negotiate privately, they will ultimately have to agree on the terms of their divorce. This can be done using mediation, arbitration, or even collaborative divorce. If these approaches fail, the couple will be forced to take their dispute in front of a Los Angeles family law judge. This judge will then have the authority to make unilateral decisions that will intimately affect Pitt, Jolie, and their children. Pitt and Jolie are likely hesitant to go to court since this will strip them of any power to control the outcome. A court’s decision will be final and binding.

 

Divorce can be stressful. Do you need help understanding your rights and options? Call the Family Law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney for help.