The Real Winner of the Brangelina Divorce? The Reputation of Family Lawyers

The Real Winner of the Brangelina Divorce? The Reputation of Family Lawyers

It’s been a couple months since our last update on Hollywood’s premiere power couple, but the curious case of the celebrity multimillionaires with six children from four continents continues to be the most chaotic celebrity divorce since, well...Brad and Angelina’s previous breakups.

So what’s happened in the Mr. and Mrs. Jolie-Pitt divorce over the last couple months? Let’s review.

Brad Pitt was cleared of any wrongdoing during the private jet incident

The L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) conducted a thorough investigation and filed their findings with the court in early November.

As we discussed in our last post, Angelina is seeking sole physical custody. And if we’ve learned anything during our years of family law, it’s that if Child Services had found evidence of abuse, this case would have been closed faster than Lifetime could wrap up filming on their made-for-tv special, Fury: Pitting father against son.

But when DCFS found nothing, Angelina’s team doubled down and requested that Brad submit to mandatory weekly drug and alcohol tests. Because when an accusation fails to prove true, the best course of action is obviously to just conjure up another one and shout about it until the first untruth fades from memory.

Angelina “purposefully” leaked private information about the children

The first time Angelina issued a release of documents containing sensitive family information, Brad stayed silent. But when she filed the same sensitive documents a second time, seemingly for no other reason than to draw the attention from the press, Brad called foul.

On December 21, with no abuse or drugs charges sticking to him, Brad and his attorneys filed a motion to clarify that the first rule of celebrity divorce club is: you don’t talk about divorce club.

The petition for privacy read like a tantrum from a third grader with a law degree:

[Angelina] has no self-regulating mechanism to preclude sensitive information from being placed in the public record, or she has other motives pursuant to which she seeks to disseminate information in this proceeding…”

The divorcing duo eventually reached an agreement and released a joint statement that described them as “a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification."

Our mistake. Based on the name calling and unsubstantiated accusations, we thought this was more of a “demean and destroy” case.

Angelina agreed to supervised visits...sort of

Back when this circus first opened for business, a voluntary temporary custody agreement was put in place (until Mr. Pitt’s name could be cleared) that granted Ms. Jolie-Pitt sole custody, with Brad getting occasional supervised visits with his kids.

But in late January it came out that Angelina had repeatedly canceled scheduled visits and orchestrated circumstances to make it impossible for him to see his children.

We don’t like to hand out a lot of courtroom advice on this blog, but for this we’re making an exception. Judges don’t like it when their orders are ignored -- that’s just Lawyering 101.

Brad’s lawyers proved beyond all doubt that Angelina directly violated the custody agreement, and Mr. Pitt leveraged his newfound favor to force Ms. Jolie to better accommodate his visitation schedule.

Where does Brangelina go from here?

Mark our words, Angelina won’t retain sole custody.

Is it because Brad has taken her besmirching in stride? Or because the judge has no evidence to prove he is unfit to raise his children? Maybe the judge just really liked Legends of the Fall?

It could be anything, but look at how his lawyers handled the case! From Day 1 of this playground showdown, Brad’s team has always been one step ahead of Angelina’s. Tabloids that once read “Brad hits kids” now scream, “Angelina’s supporters turn against her!”

Without a single public comment from either of them, Brad’s reputation, and his relationship with his children, have been saved solely by the expertise of his attorneys.

Ipso facto: family lawyers are superheroes who defend all that is right and just.

We’ll leave you with two parting thoughts. Firstly, we have to stop calling them Brangelina. A portmanteau no longer applies to their relationship. We’ll be taking suggestions in the comments section.

Secondly, when you’re in need of a family lawyer, don’t settle for a bargain bin barrister. It could very well be your undoing.