When one of the biggest celebrity couples in Hollywood is going through a very public break up, we can expect to hear about it in the media. It was shocking to find out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were calling it quits after just two years of marriage – but what I found to be even more shocking than that, was the temporary “custody” arrangement that the parties entered into late last week.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Brad agreed to at least the first visit with the children being “supervised” by a therapist, and that the therapist will determine whether or not subsequent visits need be supervised. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a lot of money at their disposal, and the ability to hire excellent legal counsel. As an attorney, I know that I would not advise a client to agree to “supervised” visits unless there was a very real and substantial chance that they would be given supervised visits at a hearing. So, I have to assume that something very bad went on during the plane incident the media is discussing, bad enough, at least, to warrant Brad Pitt supervised visitation with the children on an ongoing basis. There is no reason for him to agree otherwise. The laws in California are different than those in Illinois, but it seems that one wouldn’t want to agree to any sort of restriction on their parenting time unless there is a substantial chance that it will occur at the hearing.
Additionally, it is troublesome to me that Brad Pitt’s counsel is allowing a therapist to determine whether or not subsequent visits without supervision will be in the children’s best interests. I see this problem often. Therapists have a very different standard of review in a situation than does a Judge. The legal system doesn’t do that great of a job of evaluating what is in the best interests of a child’s emotional or mental health, whereas that is a therapist’s entire job. The Judge has to enforce parental rights whereas the therapist can take things much slower. There is a big disconnect between the therapy world and the legal world when it comes to what is in the best interests of a child and how to approach certain situations. Therapists tend to want to take their time, which would be troubling for a client who is interested in getting reunified with their children very quickly. It seems to me that we will be discovering exactly what transpired between Brad Pitt and his children, and that it wasn’t very pretty, to say the least.
Disclaimer: We do not practice law in California, nor do we claim to know the basis of California law. The information in this blog post is entirely based upon the author’s opinion based upon professional experience in the legal field.