Angelina Jolie vs Brad Pitt: The Custody Battle Continues

Angelina Jolie is a 45-year-old American actress, film producer, director, and humanitarian.  She won an Academy Award for her performance in Girl, Interrupted (1988), won three Golden Globes, and has been Hollywood’s highest-paid actress for the year many times.  In 2002, Jolie adopted her first child from an orphanage in Cambodia named Maddox Chivan.  She adopted her second child, Zahara, from an orphanage in Ethiopia.

Brad Pitt is a 57-year-old American actor and film producer.  He has won Academy Awards for both his acting and his producing.

In 2005, Jolie was accused of breaking up the marriage of Brad Pitt and television actress Jennifer Aniston, while Pitt and Jolie worked together on the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.   In 2006, the couple branded by the media as Brangelina, had a child together (Shiloh) and Pitt legally adopted Maddox and Zahara.  In 2008, the couple adopted Pax (born in 2003), a child from Vietnam, and in 2008, had two more children of their own (boy-girl twins named Vivienne and Knox).

The couple married in 2014 and divorced in California in 2019, citing irreconcilable differences.  In 2016, the FBI and the Los Angeles County of Children and Family Services [DCFS] investigated Pitt for allegedly getting physical with one of his children.  He was later cleared by both the FBI and DCFS.

Although their divorce was not contentious, child custody has always been an issue after their divorce.  Jolie wanted full custody, with monitored visitation for Pitt.  Pitt wanted joint physical and legal custody.  In May of 2021, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Ouderkirk granted Pitt’s request.  Jolie intends to appeal.

California law states that children should have continuing contact with both parents, unless there is an overriding reason in the best interests of the children not to do so.  This means, that the state wants parents to share in 50/50 joint legal and physical custody.  Jolie has been arguing for years that Pitt’s behavior toward the children precludes joint custody.  Pitt has been counter-arguing that he is a fit person/parent and should be able to exercise his rights to full child-parent interaction.

Maddox is now 19 years old and not subject to child custody proceedings under California law.  Pax is now 17, Zahara in now 16, Shiloh is now 15 and the twins are now 12.  Also, under California law, children over the age of 14 can convey to the court what custody or visitation agreement they would prefer.

Stay tuned!

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