October 5, 2016

What's Next in the Brangelina Family Divorce? Probably Not Litigation.

Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie divorce

The recent announcement that Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt and is seeking sole physical custody of their children based on alleged abuse by Mr. Pitt has triggered a media frenzy about the ugly fight that is expected to develop. But knowledgeable family law commentators and experts doubt that there will be a grisly public courtroom showdown/spectacle.

The Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Divorce

The reasons for this belief are that families can now largely bypass the court system when it comes to divorce. Since the 1970s, alternative dispute resolution practices and alternatives have been developed and refined so that families facing even dramatic disputes can seek resolution to their divorce cases without having to go to the public forum of litigation.

Alternative dispute methods available to the Brangelina family include, but are not limited to:

1. They can have their lawyers negotiate a settlement outside the microscopic lens of public scrutiny.

2. The couple can engage in mediation, with or without their lawyers present. In mediation, a neutral third party helps the divorcing couple articulate their interests, improve their communication and reach agreements about parenting their children post divorce. In mediation, the parties will attempt to agree upon a detailed parenting plan that specifies how the parents will share the decision-making responsibilities and timesharing/visitation/custody for their children during and after their divorce.

3. Opting for a "Collaborative Divorce" is another effective means for avoiding public adversarial court proceedings. In Collaborative Divorce, the parties and their attorneys sign a "four-way collaborative participation agreement", in which they commit in writing to resolving their disputes without court intervention and in a way that meets the interests of both parties and their children. They also agree their meetings will be confidential and private. Consequently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be able to avoid having the public review and parse over in excruciating minutia the details of their dispute. In addition, the parties also would agree that if the case does not settle and ends up in court, the collaborative lawyers must terminate their representation and the parties must retain new counsel. This withdrawal obligation provides a powerful incentive for lawyers to focus on creative problem solving to help their clients work through their impasse. The Collaborative Divorce process also involves the use of a collaborative facilitator and a financial professional. On issues dealing with children, additional professionals can be called in to provide assistance when necessary.

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Consequently, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their children are not condemned to having the conclusion of their marriage and the reformulation of their family unit turned into a public circus and become fodder for the speculation of daytime talk shows.

These processes are also available for other families who are seeking a less painful, more private and child friendly resolution of their marital breakup. These alternative dispute resolution procedures will not replace family courts. When high conflict couples are unable or unwilling to work together, then litigation maybe have to be utilized to finalize their divorce. But litigation in the courtrooms should not be the only option regarding family divorce or separation cases. Instead, families should have access to a divorce process where they can actually be provided with support, healing, and respectful resolutions of their disputes.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that Florida divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.


Photo credit: Anthony Harvey for Getty Images 

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