So we all know Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt on September 19, 2016. And unless you have been intentionally avoiding the ubiquitous news coverage, you know Jolie asked for sole custody of the couple’s six children. What you may not know is that there is some good advice regarding separation and custody that we can learn from their public split. They may be super-rich superstar celebrities, but even with all of their success and fame, when it comes to divorce and custody, we all have to deal with the same difficult issues.
First, it is almost always a much better choice to try to negotiate your own settlement terms than to argue in court (note: sometimes court is absolutely the right choice, an obvious example being in situations involving domestic violence or severe substance abuse issues). You retain control of what you are agreeing to, and with the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney, you can make decisions after fully understanding your rights and obligations regarding custody of your children.
You can make a binding temporary agreement while trying to work out a more long-term solution. We know that Jolie and Pitt were urged to agree to temporary terms by the family services office in LA County to avoid a lengthy court process. The same applies to custody in North Carolina – you can avoid potential conflict between parents by getting a temporary plan in place as soon as possible.
Finally, you can include many kinds of protective provisions in your custody agreement. We know that Pitt voluntarily agreed to random drug and alcohol testing. This is a good example of the kinds of creative protective terms you can include in a custody order. Or, for example, visitation can be supervised, or be required to occur only with a trusted third party present.
Whatever the specific circumstances of your situation, properly drafting a thorough custody agreement or consent order is crucial to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for your children as you work through your separation or divorce. At Hinson Family Law, I help people work through these issues every day. If you have any questions about your own situation, please do not hesitate to browse our online resources here and call our office at (336) 252-2933 to set up a consultation.