Maryland residents are probably aware that Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have announced that they are divorcing. Both Pitt and Jolie have so far chosen to settle their differences quietly and behind closed doors. However, the A-list couple has recently released contradictory statements about the custody and visitation arrangements for their six children.
Jolie was the first to speak out when one of her representatives told a major news network on Nov. 7 that a custody and visitation agreement had been accepted and signed by both parties a week earlier. The statement indicated that Jolie would retain custody of the six children while Pitt would still be able to spend time with them. The agreement was said to be open-ended but subject to revision if necessary.
The statement came just days after Pitt filed paperwork in Los Angeles seeking joint and physical custody of the children. A Pitt representative said that the document signed by Pitt and Jolie was merely an extension of an existing nonbinding temporary agreement and no permanent decisions have been made.
Family law attorneys may urge parents to settle child custody disputes amicably whenever possible. Protracted legal battles are public and expensive and may harm children emotionally. Even parents who disagree on most matters usually want what is best for their children, and attorneys may suggest an alternative approach to child custody and visitation talks when traditional negotiations have failed to provide an amicable understanding. Attorneys could also initiate legal proceedings when the circumstances of one or both parents has changed to such an extent that a modification of existing custody or visitation arrangements may be warranted.