The saga of the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce continues. While it appears they may be moving toward some form of settlement, the damage they have both caused by virtue of the positions they have taken throughout the divorce remains for their family to deal with for years to come.
As some may recall, the divorce was triggered by alcohol issues Brad allegedly had that left Angelina feeling the kids were not safe with him. These claims seem to have been borne out as accurate. But rather than take the high ground and work toward a quiet and manageable divorce, Angelina immediately went to court and sought to remove the children completely from Brad. She has been at that extreme ever since – so much so that it made Brad a sympathetic party to the court. She now appears to be the parent doing the most harm through intentionally alienating the children from Brad.
Also, though both parties have substantial assets, Angelina apparently either has financial issues of her own or simply wanted to further embarrass Brad, making issues out of child support. Again, given their backgrounds, this makes her look vindictive.
As this article from Forbes points out, the better posture for the family is to look to settlement positions early and take a more moderate legal stance. For example, had Angelina actively sought to see that Brad got help with his substance abuse issues and assured continued contact with the children, the kids would be less confused and more trusting, and Angelina would not have been seen as alienating. It would actually have made her seeking sole custody a more reasonable option. Instead, by acting more extreme, she ceded the high ground and lost her legal bargaining chip.
Financially, both probably had a prenuptial agreement, so it seems that they were hashing out matters that had likely been mostly resolved. It appears they both used the finances as a means to gain a foothold on custody.
Parties can hurt their legal positions and needlessly run up fees, and cause more damage to the family unit, by amping up extreme positions. Showing concern for the children’s attachment to both parents and a general degree of responsibility makes getting to a suitable settlement position much more probable.
If you have questions about settlement positions in divorce, contact us – we can help.