Brad Pitt was likely left blindsided by Angelina Jolie’s filing for divorce, says top lawyer and certified family law specialist Leena Hingnikar, from Walzer Melcher LLP, otherwise known as the powerhouse law firm Katie Holmes used in her divorce from Tom Cruise. Leena tells Personal Space that high-profile couples involved in celebrity divorces, like Brangelina, will often work to release a joint statement together to make it appear that things are under control, everything is amicable, and that the kids come first.
Separate statements, separate lives, she says.
“If he wasn’t blindsided they would have released a joint statement,” she explains. “Generally speaking, if they want to keep the media out of it they’d make a joint statement, people like to settle outside of court. They may end up in court once or twice, but will likely end up settling. Her filing may be a strategy to make him do something, she wanted an advantage…or it’s likely he wasn’t ready to call it quits and she was.”
Leena also explains exactly what Angelina is seeking in her filing.
“She’s seeking sole physical custody and joint legal, which means that she and Brad would be making legal, medical, and school decisions 50/50,” she says. “They both have to agree on all of those decisions together. With physical custody, the kids would primarily live with her, and Brad would have visitation. But they can make any type of parenting plan, but his end would be less that 50/50.”
Leena says judges in these cases tend to rule in favor of 50/50 physical custody, but that the couple’s jet-setting lifestyle and movie star careers will complicate things.
“Six kids make it more complicated,” she says. “The court likes to keep the kids together, so if they’re sharing all six kids go at once. In all likelihood they will probably agree to some sort of arrangement with the kids, travel, visitation.
In the end, she says, “we can speculate all we want.”
“We’ll have to see how it plays out.”
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