Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reached a temporary three-week custody agreement, which includes therapy and drug tests, suggested by the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Service on Friday, September 30. Divorce attorney Hossein Berenji, who is not working with the couple, breaks it down for Us Weekly and explains the likely reasons both parties consented to the deal.
A source confirmed to Us Weekly that Jolie, 41, will temporarily get full physical custody of the couple’s six kids: Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8. Jolie and Pitt voluntarily agreed that at least the first visitation between Pitt and the kids will be supervised by a therapist. Both parents will receive individual counseling, and they agreed to attend counseling sessions as a family with the children. Finally, the Moneyballactor, 52, will undergo —voluntarily — random drug and alcohol testing. (His first drug test, which he offered to take, came back negative for drugs and alcohol.)
Berenji explains to Us Weekly that since the DCFS was already investigating the family over claims that the Oscar-winning producer was allegedly verbally abusive and physical with the kids aboard the couple’s private jet on September 14, the agency probably decided to make recommendations for the high-profile case.
“I think that for Angelina’s purposes, temporarily at least, this does the trick for her to make sure the children are safe while seeing Brad and possibly have Brad take some responsibility for maybe certain behaviors that he’s displayed or certain characteristics,” the L.A.-based lawyer tells Us. “He knows that he’s being scrutinized by the courts and that he needs to get his act together if that’s the case.”
However, the process could be highly beneficial for Pitt, too, according to Berenji. “For him, the best way to vindicate himself might be to put himself through this process even though there might be a stigma attached to it,” he says. “It might actually just be a way to deal with this and put down all these rumors in a very short, fast, quick period of time that will not involve a whole huge scandal where the kids and their lives and their past and everything is dragged through public media. So there is a benefit I can see to both sides, and I can see why both sides might be willing to go through this process and get this done.”
As for how the DCFS came up with the parenting plan, Berenji says that they likely interviewed both Pitt and Jolie, and possibly the children individually. “The parenting plan also takes into consideration Angelina’s concerns and Brad’s issues or problems,” he says. “This seems to be some sort of a parenting plan to get the parties back to some sort of normal visitation.”
Depending on the results of Pitt’s drug tests and the therapist’s recommendations, the DCFS will decide the next steps. “They’re going to have jurisdiction over the issue of custody and visitation of the children until such time that they relinquish their jurisdiction and they give it back to the family court that’s handling the divorce,” Berenji says.
The Maleficent actress and the children have been staying at a rental home in Malibu since Jolie filed for divorce on Monday, September 19, to end their two-year marriage. The London School of Economics visiting professor cited irreconcilable differences and requested full physical custody of the children. An insider previously told Us Weekly that the estranged spouses clashed over many issues, including parenting styles.