In September 2016, Angelina Jolie shocked the world when she filed for divorce from long-time partner, Brad Pitt. Though the couple had only been married for two years, they had been a recognized couple for over ten, and never publicly showed any cracks in their relationship. But according to initial reports, Jolie was extremely upset with Pitt’s parenting habits. It has since come to light that Pitt had problems with alcohol and marijuana, and there may or may not have been a serious altercation with their eldest son prior to her filing. Regardless, Jolie filed for divorce to protect their six kids from possible mental and physical abuse.
An amicable divorce is always the goal, but no more so than when children are involved. It doesn’t matter how angry or upset you may be with your partner, if you have children, their considerations should be first and foremost when making any decisions as it deals with their future and their relationship with both parents.
There are two types of custody a parent may apply for in divorce proceedings:
- Legal custody is when a parent obtains the responsibility and obligation to make decisions for the well-being of the child. This includes what school they attend, what religion they practice, what doctors they use, etc.
- Physical custody determines who the child will live with on a regular basis.
Legal and physical custody are also split into two categories:
- Joint custody is when both parents share equally in legal and/or physical custody. Joint legal custody is when both parents share in the decisions that affect the life of their child. Joint physical custody means the child will live with both parents equally. The court does have some discretion when a 50/50 split isn’t possible due to factors that include financial means and where each parent resides.
- Sole custody is when only one parent, also known as the custodial parent, has full legal and/or physical custody. In this case, the parent that does not have sole custody, also known as the non-custodial parent, has no rights in any decisions made on behalf of the child, but does have the right to visitation.
In the case of our celebrity couple, Jolie sought sole custody with supervised visitation for Pitt. For a while, the battle for joint custody was strenuous, but it seems that may be changing. Pitt has been sober for the past few months, which should go a long way in convincing the courts (and Jolie) that he is ready to share custody.
Divorce is usually the last thing a couple thinks about when they get married, but circumstances, personalities and ideas change, and sometimes it’s simply unavoidable. In most cases, both parents want what’s best for their children, so always keep them in mind as you prepare to have your lawyers and the courts mitigate the drama that may arise during your divorce.