The custody drama brewing between Brad Pitt and estranged wife Angelina Jolie is going to stay in the public eye, at least for the time being. That’s because Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. of the Los Angeles Superior Court has denied an emergency request filed by Brad Pitt to seal the child custody details of his divorce proceedings. The ruling was handed down against 52-year-old Pitt on Wednesday, and it came just two days after the current custody agreement between Pitt and Jolie became public.
As ABC News reports, it had been revealed that Brad Pitt and his estranged wife entered into an agreement in October that allows Brad to visit with the couple’s children amid their separation. However, Brad Pitt is required to heed the “guidance of a therapist” and undergo random drug and alcohol tests to do so, at least according to the agreement that recently became public knowledge.
According to the judge’s order, the request filed by Brad Pitt didn’t “meet the requirements” for sealing, at least for now. Reportedly, Pitt had requested an emergency hearing with the judge to plead his case, but that request was denied. In his request, Pitt accused his estranged spouse of violating the couple’s privacy agreement when she filed the pair’s current voluntary custody publicly in court on Friday.
According to the sworn declaration written by Brad Pitt, he is afraid that his children’s privacy could suffer if the details of his family’s custody dispute are not sealed. The declaration was filed Wednesday, shortly before the Superior Court judge denied Pitt’s request.
“I am extremely concerned that if court records regarding custody are not sealed, information contained therein will cause irreparable damage to our children’s privacy rights.”
The separation and divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has been in the headlines since September. That is when Jolie filed for both a divorce from Pitt and for custody of the pair’s six kids. Currently, 41-year-old Angelina Jolie has primary physical custody of the children, something that Pitt reportedly wants to see change.
Brad Pitt -- Judge Denies Emergency Sealing in Custody Case https://t.co/osYg3ETUrI— TMZ (@TMZ) December 7, 2016
As CNN reports, the actual nature of the Jolie-Pitt custody agreement has been in dispute for quite some time. According to Angelina Jolie, she and Brad Pitt have entered into a “formal agreement” granting her full custody of the couple’s kids, 15-year-old Maddox, 12-year-old Pax, 11-year-old Zahara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and 8-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. According to Jolie, that agreement has “no expiration date.”
“We can confirm that childcare professionals have encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides over a week age. In accordance with this agreement, the six children will stay in their mother’s custody, and the children will continue therapeutic visits with their father. This has been determined by childcare professionals to be in the children’s best interest.”
Brad Pitt and his legal team dispute that agreement. They contend that the custody agreement referenced by Jolie and her team was always intended to be a temporary, interim agreement until something official and permanent could be hashed out.
“This was simply an extension of the existing temporary agreement, which was voluntary and is still temporary. There is no new agreement. No permanent custody has been determined.”
@DailyMailCeleb Manipulative just doesn't even cut it, she is pure poison!— amandine515 (@amandine5151) December 7, 2016
Since November, Brad Pitt has filed for joint and physical custody of the children, a matter which has yet to be decided.
As Pitt’s now-denied request to seal indicates, the fight over custody is something that the Fight Club star wants kept out the press and public eye.
According to Angelina Jolie and her legal team, Pitt’s attempt to get the details of the pair’s custody case was an attempt to protect himself, not their children. According to statements written in Wednesday court filings, Jolie’s attorneys believe that Brad Pitt was trying to “shield himself from embarrassing details” in the midst of seeking more time with his adopted and biological children. They called Brad Pitt’s efforts a “thinly veiled” attempt to protect his own private life from public scrutiny.
“His… request is a thinly veiled attempt to shield himself, rather than the minor children, from public view.”
As Entertainment Tonight reports, Laura Wasser, attorney for Angelina Jolie, seemed thrilled regarding the custody sealing decision when she spoke to members of the media outside of the California courthouse.
Reportedly, sources close to the Jolie-Pitt divorce case have said that Pitt is worried that details about an incident that took place on a September 14 flight could become public knowledge. That incident, which sparked a child abuse investigation into Pitt, is largely cited as being the catalyst for the couple’s divorce. Initially, rumors swirled that Brad had physically assaulted his teenage son Maddox on the flight from France. However, the incident was investigated by both the FBI and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the case was closed without charges being filed.
Sources close to Brad Pitt say that the star and his teenage son argued, but that the dispute never got physical.
Brad Pitt and his legal team were less happy about the judge’s decision, refusing to comment to the media following the judge’s ruling.
[Featured Image by Abraham Caro Marin/AP Images]