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The divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has surprised the world, after the couple were married for two years but together for a decade. Divorce can sometimes be a challenging time, but perhaps more so for a family under the spotlight and subject to rumours and speculation. The high profile Hollywood divorce has raised questions about what will happen to the children in the family.

The ‘Brangelina’ family is made up of three biological children, Shiloh, ten years old and twins Knox and Vivienne, eight. They also have three adopted children, Maddox, 15, from Cambodia; Pax, 12, from Vietnam; and Zahara, 11, from Ethiopia.

Although the exact reasons for the divorce have not been clarified, it has been suggested in the media that one reason for the divorce was Jolie’s upset with Brad’s parenting of their children. Reports suggest that Brad has not seen his children since Angelina filed for divorce on Monday September 19th while Jolie is currently residing with all six children in Los Angeles.

Reports in the media state her decision to demand sole custody, with Mr Pitt only given visitation rights, was unacceptable to the actor, who is said to be hoping that they can reach a custody agreement.

The divorce process in the UK

Many people seem to believe that upon divorce the courts automatically have the power to make decisions about children such as with whom they will live, when and how often the other parent will have contact. In the UK however, the family court will not interfere with the child care arrangements within the divorce itself. The court will expect the parents to come to their own arrangements and indeed the vast majority of divorcing couples sort out the future child care arrangements between themselves. In general the courts only intervene to decide any issue relating to the children if someone specifically makes an application to the court to do so under the Children Act 1989, it must be stressed however that such applications are always something of a last resort and it is always better to understand your legal rights at the earliest opportunity and then explore alternative ways to resolve any disputes such as mediation, negotiations through friends or family members or through negotiations between Solicitors.

What action should divorcing parents take?

The well-being and continued happiness of the children in the family after a relationship breakdown is of the utmost importance. It is important for parents to separate their roles as spouses from their roles as parents. It is also imperative to prevent the children from picking up on any acrimony and to avoid any actions that would distance the children from their other parent. My advice to divorcing parents would be to seek appropriate legal advice from a Solicitor specialising in Family Law at the earliest opportunity. It is important that parents know their legal rights in relation to the children should there be a dispute in order to avoid the common pitfalls.

If you are in the unfortunate position of wanting to file for divorce or dissolution please contact me or another member of the Family and Matrimonial team who will be happy to provide you with some free initial advice to ensure your proceedings run as smoothly as possible. Call today on 0343 507 5142 or email your query to enquiries@gorvins.com and we’ll get back to you.