Divorce is typically an unpleasant, and usually a traumatic experience for all concerned, even more so if there are children involved. Courts nationwide, including New Jersey, base child custody decisions on the best interests of the children, and negotiating agreements with that in mind is often an emotional and time-consuming process. Former power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally came to a child custody agreement after two years of litigation.
Reportedly, the agreement was reached in time to scrap the private custody trial that was scheduled to commence on Dec. 4. Jolie cited irreconcilable differences when she filed for the divorce back in Sept. 2016. That set in motion a process that became public and extremely contentious at times. Jolie and Pitt were together for 12 years, and they share seven children with ages ranging from 10 to 17 — the youngest being a set of twins.
The child custody agreement was facilitated by a child custody evaluator who made recommendations on which the agreement was based. A custody evaluation is typically involves a court-appointed expert who evaluates the family and then makes recommendations on custody, together with a parenting plan. If the judge is satisfied that the ultimate agreement is in the best interests of the child, he or she will incorporate it in a court order.
Any parent in New Jersey who is in the throes of a divorce — whether it is contentious or not — can seek the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can assess the unique circumstances of the client, answer questions and explain the available options for settling child custody disputes, one of which is mediation. If a mediated agreement can be reached, the trauma of court battles might be avoided, making it easier for all concerned.