There was a time when the phrase “Brangelina” filled people with interest, intrigue, and maybe, even a bit of jealousy. But, now when people hear about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, one of the things that comes to mind isn’t their romantic Hollywood relationship, but instead, their contentious child custody case.

For years, Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie have been battling over the custody of their six children, and it may be getting even more complicated.

The Brangelina Backstory

Pitt and Jolie met on the set of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2004 when Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. Reports swirled that Pitt and Jolie were having an affair. Pitt and Aniston filed for divorce in March 2005, and it wasn’t long before Pitt and Jolie were considered an item. Almost ten years and six children later, they got married in 2014.

Pitt and Jolie’s marriage didn’t last long, and they filed for divorce in 2016. They were legally separated in April 2019, but the details of their child custody have continued to be an issue.

When Jolie filed for divorce, she requested primary custody of the six children: Maddox (19), Pax (17), Zahara (16), Shiloh (15), and twins Knox and Vivienne (12).

The Pitt-Jolie Child Custody Case

After the divorce filing, there was child abuse investigation into Pitt after an alleged incident between Pitt and Maddox took place on the family’s private plane. It was investigated by The LA Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI, but there were no charges.

Shortly after, in January 2017, the couple hired a private judge and signed agreements to keep the details of their case private. Jolie had primary physical custody of the children, and it seemed the case was beginning to wrap up.

But it wasn’t long before things began to escalate again. A few months after a court ordered the kids to spend more time with Pitt, Jolie accused Pitt of not paying “meaningful” child support. In late 2020, Jolie filed documents saying that three of the children wanted to testify against Pitt.

Yet, in May 2021, the privately hired judge issued a tentative custody order providing joint custody of the children.

But, the disputes didn’t end here.

The Next Phase of The Custody Battle

Jolie has been trying to have the private judge hired to manage the case removed. Once she found out the judge had business relationships with Pitt’s team, she filed to have him disqualified. Up until recently, she had been able to remove him and was bound by his decisions.

But, in July 2021, a California appeals court agreed that the private judge should be disqualified, according to CBS News. This change gave Jolie back full-time custody of the kids. Now, Pitt is filing a petition of his own to review the case and possibly have the decision reversed.

This could mean that the child custody case will not find a simple and final resolution.

Understanding Child Custody Agreements

When parents split custody of a child (because the couple is getting a divorce, breaking up, or has never been a couple), they create a custody agreement that addresses multiple types of child custody that are usually in place until a child turns 18.

  • Legal custody grants one or both parents the right to make legal decisions for the child as it relates to the child’s healthcare, religion, and education.
  • Physical custody grants one or both parents the right to have the child live with them and care for them on a day-to-day basis.
  • Sole custody may be awarded to one parent for legal custody, physical custody, or both.
  • Joint custody splits the rights of parents as it relates to legal custody, physical custody, or both.

To determine a child custody agreement, parents typically have three options.

  1. They can work together to develop a plan. In some cases, the courts don’t need to be involved and families can file a plan on their own. (Review our Guide to Florida Family Law Forms to see how parents can establish a custody plan on their own.)
  2. The parents can work with a third-party mediator to develop an agreement.
  3. If no agreement can be made outside of the court or with a mediator, the parents can go to court where a judge makes the final decisions.

In the case of Pitt and Jolie, they are at the mercy of the decisions of the judge so their case may continue to bounce around the court system with filings and appeals until both Pitt and Jolie are satisfied with the decisions or until all of the children turn 18.

Related: How Did Lamar Odom End Up Owing $380K in Child Support?

Have More Questions About Child Custody?

Child custody cases can be both confusing and contentious. But, they don’t have to be. The right family law attorney can guide you through the process and take steps to make the situation as easy as possible for everyone involved.

If you have questions about child custody, we’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation to talk with family law attorney, TJ Grimalid about an upcoming child custody case. All consultations are free so contact us today to find out how TJ can guide you and your family through the legal custody process.

Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

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