On September 19, 2016, Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie petitioned
for divorce from actor Brand Pitt.
California law states that Pitt had until October 19, 2016 to respond to
Jolie’s petition. But, according to TMZ and other news sources,
Pitt failed to respond at all. Now Jolie can file a request for default judgment.
In a default judgment situation, where the respondent (in this case Pitt)
has not filed his response papers within the 30-day time limit, the petitioner
(in this case Jolie) can ask the court to grant her the requests she made
on her original petition for dissolution papers. Jolie asked that her
marriage to Brad Pitt be dissolved and for physical custody of their six
children. However, she did not make specific requests regarding property
issues - either their substantial real estate holdings or their personal property.
Under a default judgment request, the court would dissolve Jolie and Pitt’s
marriage and grant Jolie physical custody of their children. However,
only their marital status would change permanently.
In California, child custody/visitation and spousal and/or child support
are modifiable. Therefore, Pitt would be able to go back into court and
request a change in custody. (He would have to show a change in circumstances
to be granted the change.)
According to news sources, Pitt did not file a response to Jolie’s
petition because he does not want to subject their children to a custody
battle. According to TMZ, “…The L.A. County Dept. of Children
and Family Services is still investigating the airplane incident between
Brad and 15-year-old [son] Maddox, and Brad will be in a much stronger
position if DCFS closes the case before he files his answer…”
Because no specific requests for property issues were made, the court could
not resolve them, and the property issues would still have to be “hammered
out” between Jolie and Pitt. The “hammering” will probably
be done by their attorneys…
Stay tuned for more to come!