Ripped From the Headlines: What NOT To Do in a Custody Battle

It’s not surprising to see news about a celebrity couple getting divorced. However, this headline caught our attention: Angelina Jolie could lose custody of kids if their relationship with Brad Pitt doesn’t improve. The couple has been separated since September 2016 and according to news reports, reaching a child custody agreement is at the heart of their divorce battle. Currently, Jolie has primary custody of their six children and Pitt is allowed visitation.

The custody arrangement is not unusual and many people can relate to a prolonged, bitter divorce. However, it is Jolie’s attempt to keep the children from Pitt that caused the judge to issue a stern warning and has placed her custody status in jeopardy. The article cites legal documents that state “it is critical each of [the Jolie-Pitt children] have a healthy and strong relationship with their father and mother, and that not having a relationship with their father is harmful…”

As a result, the judge modified the temporary custody agreement and mandated several items Jolie must comply with to demonstrate she is allowing the children to have a relationship with their father:

• Jolie must give Pitt the children’s cell phone numbers so he can call them anytime.
• Jolie is forbidden to read text messages Pitt sends to the children.
• Jolie is not allowed to be present during Pitt’s visits with the children.
• Jolie is allowed to call the children only once a day while they are with Pitt.

These are reasonable expectations for both parents and should not have to be legally enforced, but children are often caught in the crossfire of divorce. The lesson of this story: Divorcing parents must put their children’s best interests first, even if they’re rich and famous. If you need help resolving a child custody issue, call the family law firm of Hoppes & Cutrer at 817-283-3999.

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