I am not particularly interested in the Jolie/Pitt divorce from a celebrity standpoint, but as a divorce attorney the ups and downs and drama is something that I see with some of my own clients, just on a much larger (and far more expensive) scale. Interestingly enough, the resolutions are not all that different than what I would have predicted with my own clients, which shows that people are all basically the same, even if they play superheroes in movies and have billions of dollars and perfect bodies.
First of all, this divorce has been going on for almost 2 years. When it started, we still all thought Hillary Clinton was going to be our next president. If you watch Entertainment Tonite or read TMZ or People, we don’t find out about most celeb’s divorces until it is basically settled and over. This divorce, however, seemed to have been filed by Angelina without discussing any resolution with Brad first. And she still seems to be playing games and throwing around accusations rather than working towards a settlement, which is going to stretch it out much longer.
First was an accusation by Angelina of child abuse of one or more of the parties’ 6 children onboard a private jet. The FBI investigated and found nothing, and the Los Angeles County Division of Children and Family Services also investigated and cleared Brad of any abuse allegations. This already puts Angelina in a bad light. Judges take false allegations of child support very seriously. Not only are they damaging to the parents and the children, but they are a tremendous waste of public resources as an investigation is launched for a bogus claim.
Next was Angelina’s scheme to take the kids to Europe for the entire time she was shooting a movie there, despite a verbal agreement that the kids would be there for 2 weeks with her and then be back in L.A. with Brad, where he was shooting. (He had picked that particular role because the shooting was exclusively in L.A. and he could be with the kids). The judge had to get involved in this situation and he ordered Angelina to give Brad more time with the kids. Eventually, the judge had to create a specific custody schedule when it became apparent that Angelina was not going to comply with an order to just give Brad more time. The judge said that Angelina’s refusal to let the kids have a relationship with their father was harmful to the kids, and she was at risk of losing custody if it continues. I have seen that with my clients and judges have no patience for these actions. Judges are always on the lookout for alienation by one parent against the other, and will, if necessary, take custody away from the alienating parent and put the kids with the non-alienating parent.
Angelina’s latest beef is that Brad has not given her enough child support. None of us can get interested in this allegation that one of the highest paid stars in the world is not getting enough money from her husband, another millionaire.
As an indication of how ridiculous all of this has become, Angelina’s attorney, Laura Wasser, is no longer representing her (the child support claim came from her new attorney). Wasser is known for her settlements of celebrity divorces and she likely became tired of her client’s antics and demands. Judges notice these things as well, and it is possible the judge could be influenced by the fact that a reasonable attorney has withdrawn as counsel when he is deciding custody.
So, for regular people, the lesson to be learned from this is false accusations and refusal to cooperate in sharing parenting time is not going to win you custody of your kids, and it may even backfire. In addition, it will make your divorce take longer and become much more expensive. One thing Angelina can count on, Brad is not going to run out of money to fight this thing….