If you haven’t heard yet (because you apparently live under a rock), the beloved Brangelina has decided to call it quits after two years of marriage, and 12 years together. In addition to an extremely large estate, the couple has six children namely, Maddox, 15; Pax, 12; Zahara, 11; Shiloh, 10; and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8. Rumor has it that Brad was drunk on the couple’s plane, and got into an altercation with Angelina, prompting Maddox to get involved and defend his mother. Now, it is unclear whether or not Brad went all “Fight Club” on anyone, but it is clear that something concerning happened, because the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the incident. At this point in time, Angelina has full custody of the children. Brad is cooperating with the investigation, and is required to submit to random alcohol and drug tests, and his first visit with the children must be supervised by a therapist.
Obviously this divorce is not taking place in North Dakota, but if it were, the court would consider and evaluate numerous factors, dubbed the best interest factors to determine who should have custody of Brangelina’s children. In my experience, there are several factors that routinely weigh equally among parents, such as the love, affection, and other emotional ties that exist between the parents and the children or the children’s developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet those needs. However, there are other factors that, again in my experience, do not routinely weigh equally among parents, such as the moral fitness of the parents, the mental or physical health of the parents, whether there has been domestic violence, and whether the children are of sufficient maturity to express their preference.
I am sure we will get many more details about the plane incident leading to the investigation of Brad, but at this time it appears that a handful of the best interest factors do not weigh in Brad’s favor. This could possibly explain the reasoning behind his agreement to undergo alcohol and drug testing, to see his children for the first visit in the presence of a therapist, and his decision to allow Angelina to have primary custody of the children on a temporary basis. Based upon what we know from the various tabloids; Angelina possibly has the upper hand at this point and we may see this temporary agreement turn into something more permanent.
Unfortunately, this is not the first celebrity couple to call it quits. The following are all celebrity couples who had children and have called it quits.
• Spederline: Britney Spears married her back-up dancer K-Fed. The marriage produced two children in two years, and ended quicker than it began. Due to Britney’s erratic behavior, i.e. shaving her head, beating up cars with umbrellas, being hospitalized for drug abuse, K-Fed was awarded primary custody of the couple’s children. However, Britney bounced back and has now regained primary custody. Personally, I think Britney was still reeling from her break-up with Justin Timberlake, and was vulnerable (really vulnerable) when she decided to marry K-Fed.
• TomKat: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise took a good run at the marriage bit, and lasted (I think) a lot longer than most people expected. The couple started dating in 2005, and divorced in 2012. Katie may not have gotten a large chunk of Tom’s reported $250 million estate, but she did get primary custody of Suri, which was reportedly important to her because it gives her the ability to keep Suri out of the world of Scientology.
• Garfleck: It can be argued that if it wasn’t for the nanny one of America’s most beloved couples would still be together. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced their plans to divorce in July of 2015, but have not yet finalized the details. Instead, they have focused on co-parenting their three children. Who knows, maybe this is one celebrity couple that will reconcile and live happily ever after!
Typically, celebrity couples look happy and content on the covers of all those magazines lining the checkout aisles at our favorite grocery store; however, they are human too and not immune to the issues that can derail a marriage. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before certain celebrity marriages spiral out of control, such as Kimye, and Speidi, but others like Billary, Bee-Z and Brady Bunch seem that they will last for many years to come.
At this point in their divorce, it is difficult to predict what will become of Brangelina’s children; however, amidst the rumors of verbal and physical abuse; drug and alcohol testing; and the temporary agreement awarding Angelina full custody of the children, Brad may be fighting an uphill battle. While custody of Brangelina’s children is unclear, it seems to be the consensus that they have an “ironclad” prenuptial agreement (which was previously blogged about here), so they can rest assured the battle over their estimated $500 million estate won’t be an issue.
If you find yourself in the midst of a custody battle, please give us a call, because these situations are complicated. There are two of us at SW&L who handle family law cases, including custody actions with or without property. If you have a family law issue that you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to call (701) 297-2890 and ask for Jeni or Greg or email me at email@example.com or Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.