Jolie’s ‘Sole Physical Custody’ Claim a Red Flag in Brangelina Breakup

Amid reports that Brad Pitt is being investigated for some form of alleged child abuse, there are clues in Angelina Jolie’s divorce paperwork that may be consistent with such an allegation, says Dallas Family Law attorney Keith Nelson, a partner in the Family Law boutique Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP. Chief among them is Ms. Jolie’s request for sole physical custody of the couple’s six children, while allowing joint legal custody.

These are two very specific distinctions. With sole physical custody, although there will be visitation, the child resides primarily with one parent. With joint legal custody, both parents will likely have a say in decisions related to education, health care and general welfare. Many of the initial media reports made it clear that it was the well-being of the couple’s six children (ages 8 to 15) – not infidelity or other issues – that was the primary concern. The fact that she included a request for sole physical custody should be a bit of a red flag that she may not consider him a proper influence on the children or she may claim that he is engaging in risky behaviors – such as substance abuse – that could potentially put them in danger. Her request for sole physical custody, may also signal a desire on her part to have the right to live with the children without any geographic restriction.

If Mr. Pitt wants to counter this request, one of his first moves, says Mr. Nelson, could be to ask for a full-scale custody evaluation, which could include a psychological and substance abuse assessment of both parents.
Sometimes, the parent asking for sole custody will have mitigating issues of their own that will be vetted out in such a custody evaluation, which can impact the evaluator’s ultimate recommendations to the court.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

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