What Angelina Jolie's Newest Court Filing Means for Her Custody Dispute with Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie has filed new court documents outlining her current custody arrangement with Brad Pitt, but sources tell PEOPLE that nothing has changed since the couple first made the agreement in October.
“This is pure spin and manipulation, as absolutely nothing has changed,” says a source with knowledge of the situation. “The original agreement is temporary and voluntary and that has not changed in the slightest; absolutely no binding agreement has been made, no final decisions have been made, and there is nothing that should be presented as a legally binding custody arrangement at this time. There is zero legal purpose for filing this. Zero.“
A second source agrees, reiterating that “nothing has changed” and that both sides are continuing to work towards a permanent agreement.
“It’s very unusual that she filed this document with the court for two reasons,” CA family law specialist Steve Mindel tells PEOPLE. “The first reason is that most of the time, celebrities want to be anonymous. The second reason has to do with her children. Now that she’s filed this document, people are getting more information about her children: where they are, what their schedules are, and so forth. And at their wealth level, privacy is very important for their safety.”
While Mindel is unclear of the legal purpose to the filing, he adds that, “Her filing is definitely sending a message to Brad that she wants this more in the public than less in the public. And that’s not particularly good for either one of them as celebrities.”
The court documents, filed by Jolie on Dec. 2 and obtained by PEOPLE, detail the temporary custody arrangement already in place, including that, pending any future changes, Jolie “shall have physical custody of the minor children,” and that Pitt will continue to have “agreed upon therapeutic visitation” with the kids.
The documents also state that Pitt’s visitation is being determined by a psychologist, Ian Russ Ph.D., and that Pitt is participating in individual and group therapy sessions at least once a week. In addition, Pitt had previously agreed to random drug and alcohol testing at least four times a month. The children are also to continue group and individual therapy sessions.
According to sources, this is the same temporary family decision plan recommended by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services during its investigation. The investigation was launched after Pitt allegedly got “verbally abusive” and “physical” with his son Maddox on the couple’s private plane on Sept. 14. Jolie filed for divorce five days later, asking for sole custody with visitation rights for Pitt.
“There is absolutely nothing different about the situation today as opposed to yesterday as opposed to when this agreement was put into place,” adds the first source.
A separate source notes that Jolie has been attending her kids’ counseling sessions. “Angie has been by the kids’ side nonstop since this happened. Their health and well-being has been her only priority. She hasn’t traveled, and she delayed completing [her new film] First They Killed My Father,” says the source, adding, “Angie also hasn’t been the one to keep Brad from seeing the kids. It hasn’t been her choice. She has been following the advice of the therapists.”
As for why Pitt has agreed to follow the current custody arrangement, Mindel explains, “In the short run, this might be uncomfortable for Brad because no one likes to be supervised with their children. But over the long run, going along with the temporary plan is a winning solution for him to get the custody he desires.” That’s because, by continuing to behave properly during the visits, and by continuing to pass his drug tests, Pitt is gathering evidence that will help him negotiate for the custody he wants later on.
Meanwhile, Pitt has not made any court filings since requesting joint custody in November. As for why he has yet to ask the court to intervene in the dispute, the first source says, “Brad has always placed the interests of his children first and foremost, and has been accommodating and agreeable for now due to his desire to continue putting his children first. Particularly during the holiday season, embarking on legal filings at this moment doesn’t feel imperative.”
A source close to the actor tells PEOPLE, “Brad is not at all happy with this situation. He wants to spend more time with the kids and on his own terms. There is nothing about the current arrangement that makes him happy. He has no plans to accept it. He misses his kids. It’s a very sad situation for him.”
The source adds, “Angie is playing hurtful games and he won’t play along. He feels he has done nothing wrong and is getting punished without cause. He always was a great dad and wants to continue to be a great dad. Spending Thanksgiving without his kids was very difficult for him. He wants to have a normal relationship with his kids. He has a great legal team and is figuring out the best strategy right now.”