Those who have gone through divorce or know people who have gone through a divorce or are familiar with custody law understand that judges often ignore everything else — affairs, who is at fault, etc. — and focus on “what is equitable,” and in the case of custody disputes, “what’s in the best interest of the children.”
In the custody dispute between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, a judge has taken the unusual step of intervening, because it appears — according to court documents — that Jolie may have been making it difficult for her children to have a healthy relationship with Pitt, whether it be from interfering with Pitt’s ability to talk to his kids on the phone or, potentially, poisoning the relationship between father and children.
As a result, a judge has ordered Jolie to help their children repair their relationship with their father, and she’s also been asked not to interfere with the phone calls between Pitt and his kids — he can now talk to them on the phone directly, without Jolie’s supervision.
Pitt has also been granted a summer visitation schedule. Over the course of the summer, his visits will be extended from four hours a day to ten hours a day to full days with his kids, though always under the supervision of a therapist. I don’t know if that’s a woo woo rich person Los Angeles thing, or if things are just so damaged that a therapist needs to be present at all times to facilitate what may potentially be a damaged relationship.
The summer visitation schedule will also entail splitting time in London (where Jolie is filming Maleficient 2) and Los Angeles, which adds another dimension to the bizarre nature of celebrity. While staying with Pitt, Jolie is allowed to call the kids once a day.
In my modest little existence, all of this seems so foreign: Four-hour visits with a therapist in attendance; a structured phone call schedule; and a visitation schedule back and forth across the Atlantic. Note, too, that this upheaval has been going on for nearly two years (Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016), and I can’t imagine what kind of deleterious effect that might have on what’s already an unusual family arrangement. Knowing nothing else about Jolie and Pitt besides what I read in interviews and see onscreen, however, I kind of feel like they’re strong enough parents to make it work, but from a custody standpoint, all of this is unusual and bizarre, even more so given the glare of the media.