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The divorce between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has become high profile in today’s news. It’s not often that a celebrity divorce earns its own nickname. In this case, the press is calling it the “Brangelina Split.”
Even though each parent is worth many millions, the main contested divorce issue is child custody of their six children.
As in many divorces, if the couple can reach a settlement outside of court, they have better chances of making their divorce more amicable. It remains to be seen how they will resolve the custody issue, but here are some benchmarks along the road of their divorce.
Angelina Jolie filed for divorce at the end of September 2016 and sought sole child custody. Allegations of abuse emerged against Brad Pitt shortly after she filed.
In October, USA Today published an article that disclosed the temporary custody arrangement was for Angelina to have sole custody and Brad to have visitation. They worked out the agreement through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The agreement included terms of Brad submitting to random drug/alcohol testing and both parents undergoing separate and family counseling. Brad’s first visit with the children was to be monitored by a therapist, but that stipulation was not necessary an ongoing requirement for later visits.
On November 9, USA Today reported that the LA County DCFS cleared Brad Pitt after exhaustively investigating charges of Pitt’s alleged abuse against his 15 year old son. Brad Pitt subsequently has filed for joint custody of the children.
Their divorce case is being heard in California, and under state law, courts favor awarding joint custody whenever possible. Generally, parents enjoy a 50/50 parenting time arrangement so both parents can spend time with their children. Children over 14 years of age typically can state their preference during custody proceedings and the court takes their view into consideration.
Attorney Chris Palermo offers compassionate legal help for individuals seeking divorce to help protect their rights.
Whether you call it joint child custody, co-parenting, or shared parental responsibility, when parents can raise their children together without a high degree of conflict, statistics show this type of parenting is best for the children.
Or course, parents divorce because they are unable to resolve issues in their marital relationship. Naturally, barriers exist in getting along with each other that they must overcome for joint child custody to work.
What Children Prefer
An article in Psychology Today lists reasons why co-parenting is the preferred arrangement. The article promotes considering what is in the child’s best interests from a child’s perspective. It offers arguments for shared responsibility, stating that shared responsibility does the following:
When violence and high conflict aren’t an issue, children typically want both parents in their lives and want to have meaningful relationships with both parents.
New York courts weigh a child’s preference on custody more heavily when the child is 13 years or older, and this is true even when they do not rule as a child would want. Courts also try not to separate siblings from each other whenever possible.
Do You Have Questions about Child Custody?
Attorney Chris Palermo is glad to answer your questions, help you consider all the aspects of child custody and to protect your rights as a parent.
On May 29, 2015, Congress passed the Rape Survivor Custody Act. The new federal law assists women who become pregnant because of rape and decide to keep their babies. The law provides stronger protection against the rapist when he is claiming custody rights to the child.
According to Yahoo News , studies show approximately 25,000 to 32,000 U.S. pregnancies result annually from rape. An estimated one third or more of the women in these instances decide to raise the child.
The Rape Survivor Custody Act boosts funding to states that permit women to petition for parental rights termination of the rapist. Better funding encourages states to help women take a stance. The other change the law introduced is a lesser burden of evidence is required for proving a child was conceived through rape: clear and convincing evidence.
Previously, women did not have much chance of protection unless the rapist was found guilty in a criminal court. Because the burden of proof in criminal cases is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, many rape cases lacked sufficient evidence for a conviction. Consequently, the rapist, who would either not be charged or convicted, could continue to harass the woman, using a claim for custody as a means of continued torment. Clear and convincing evidence is a lower burden of proof than guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because it only requires proving that it was substantially more likely than not that the rape occurred.
Chicago attorney, Shauna Prewitt began advocating better state laws for raped women after pursuing and enduring a two-year custody case against a man who raped her. She’s quoted as saying that she has seen custody cases where the rapist has told the woman that if she drops the criminal case against him, he’ll drop the custody case or agree not to pursue parental rights.
At this time, 36 states address the child custody rape issue. However, many require a criminal conviction of the rapist. Although New York does not require rape conviction, it also has no provision to terminate parental rights of a rapist. Your attorney must convince the court that the father seeking parental rights is harmful to the child.
If you have concerns about custody, discuss them with Attorney Chris Palermo. He is committed to protecting your rights and providing you with compassionate and effective legal counsel.
Parental alienation syndrome is a psychological term that means one parent is turning the children against the other parent, usually due to a divorce or child custody dispute. The syndrome manifests as the child’s denigration of the other parent, but there is no real justification for it. It results from the other parent’s indoctrination of the child and the child’s own contribution to vilifying the targeted parent.
On March 25, 2015, the New York appellate court ruled in the appeal of Halioris v. Haloris , where the father sought sole custody based on the mother’s parental alienation. The mother had appealed the lower court’s decision and requested that the appellate court review the case.
In rendering its decision, the appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision to grant the father sole custody. The court referenced several other cases, quoting previous findings that influenced the court’s decision. This statement in particular was pivotal in the case:
‘Parental alienation of a child from the other parent is “an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the children as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the [offending parent] is unfit to act as custodial parent.” ‘
Clearly, divorce is an emotional matter for many parents, and they can lose a proper perspective when fighting for custody of their children. Even so, there are important legal guidelines to keep in mind. Parental alienation is one of them, and no matter how justified a parental may feel in alienating the child from the other parent, this type of behavior often backfires.
If you have questions about divorce or child custody issues, Chris Palermo is glad to provide you with answers and legal advice. As a Long Island divorce lawyer he is committed to protecting your rights and helping you achieve the best outcome possible.