Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s son Maddox could be faced with a very difficult decision. At 15, he will have the option to state which parent he prefers to live with full time, divorce attorney Alexander Orlofsky — who is not working with the former couple — told Us Weekly.
As previously reported, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt on Monday, September 19, after two years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. The Maleficent actress, 41, is seeking sole physical custody of their six kids: Maddox, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 8.
Susan Stiffelman, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Us that while Maddox has the right to express his custody preference to a judge, it’s not in his best interest. “Guilt, pressure and issues of loyalty can make adjusting to divorce even more difficult if a youngster is asked to choose between Mom and Dad,” says the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles.
A better scenario, Orlofsky suggests: Maddox is assigned a guardian ad litem to be his voice in the courtroom. “This is a third party, usually an attorney, who is appointed to represent the best interest of a minor in dissolution and time-sharing cases,” the Miami Beach–based divorce lawyer tells Us. According to Orlofsky, the guardian ad litem’s job is to interview the child, his siblings, the parents, his teachers and doctors to make a report and recommendation to the judge about custody.
Pitt, 52, plans to fight his estranged wife for custody of their children. “He wants to have a significant role in his kids’ lives, and he wants to be with them consistently, but he also wants them to be in the most protected and proper environment,” a source told Us on Thursday, September 22.
The Ocean’s Eleven actor is under investigation for child abuse over an altercation that occurred on a private jet on September 14. “He got drunk and was fighting with Angie,” an insider told Us. “Maddox stepped in to defend Angie and got in Brad’s face.” One source told Us of the exchange, which was allegedly caught on tape: “Brad is seen yelling a lot during it, but nothing physical.”
Over the years, the pair clashed over parenting methods, an insider told Us. “Brad and Angelina had arguments which, over time, became progressively more frequent,” the source said. “Brad was still hoping to work it out, and ultimately that didn’t happen.”
Pitt only found out about Jolie’s divorce decision one day before she filed the paperwork. “She did try to make it work, but her kids come first, and she couldn’t let them see Mommy and Daddy like this,” an insider told Us. “The fighting got worse.”
Jolie’s attorney, Robert Offer, told Us that the Oscar winner filed for the dissolution of their marriage “for the health of the family.”
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