Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Take Next Step in Divorce as They Begin Child Custody Evaluations
The two have begun child custody evaluations as their court-appointed evaluator, Dr. Stan Katz, listed his qualifications in court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
According to family law specialist Steve Mindel, who is not involved with the case, it is typical for third party evaluators to be hired for cases involving child custody, aka parenting plans.
“Courts don’t want to take a side, so that’s where child custody evaluators come into play,” Mindel tells PEOPLE. “Stanley Katz is a very well-known child parenting plan evaluator. He’ll do an investigation, interview the parents and children individually and he’ll interview the children with the parents. He’ll also interview what are called collateral sources: grandparents, school teachers, doctors, those types of people.”
Katz filed the documents on Oct. 12 to let the court know he was qualified in proceeding with his evaluations of the pair’s six children: Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 12, 10-year-olds Vivienne and Knox, Maddox, 16, and Pax, 14.
“So now, the evaluator is touching base with the judge, saying ‘I will complete my report and answer the questions you asked me to answer,’” Mindel explains. “That means the divorce is moving along, because [Jolie and Pitt] cannot agree on something with regard to the parenting plan – whether it’s legal issues, medical issues, education, and/or where the children are on any particular day.”
Jolie, 43, announced she and divorce attorney Laura Wasser had gone their separate ways last month as the Oscar winner — who a source told PEOPLE “remains focused on healing her family” — transitioned to new counsel in her ongoing divorce with the actor.
In August, Pitt, 54, and Jolie agreed to continue their interim child custody agreement, a source told PEOPLE at the time.
The month before, a judge established a detailed schedule for Pitt to spend time with the children (except Maddox, who according to the court is old enough to decide for himself how much time he wants to spend with his father).
Jolie has “tried to bridge the gap between the kids and their dad,” a source previously told PEOPLE. “She’s worked to achieve reinstatement for them. But it’s now between Brad, his kids, and the court. The court will determine things.”