Brad and Angelina focus on kids amid divorce, lawyers seek private settlement

ED! speaks to a top divorce lawyer about the effects of the marriage break-up

Both Brad and Angelina have said that their kids are now priority, although both have been guilty of a little mud-slinging.

To get behind the media glare of this high profile split, ED! have spoken exclusively to Sally Pike, Partner and Head of Family at law firm Coffin Mew about where the Hollywood couple go from here.

With so much being said in the media by friends and associates of the couple, it is difficult to understand what is truth and which allegations are lies.

Sally believes this is not unusual in a divorce case: “I think it is relatively usual that there are things said at the time that can be highly emotional.

“It is actually trying to take the heat out of that and it would be very unlikely that this would have any sway in the overall negotiations unless there was serious proven allegations related to the welfare of the children.”

Their lawyers will now be focused on ironing out a deal that works for everyone and away from the media glare.

Sally confirms: “Their lawyers will be trying to take this behind closed doors for their negotiations and focusing on those children.

“I would say that they are definitely wanting to avoid full disclosure in court.”

With this being the case, attention will be on sorting out the children’s future.

Sally continues: “At the moment for the divorce lawyers, the absolute key is the children and their welfare and wellbeing on both sides despite the allegations that are being made.

“The children will be at the heart of initial discussions. That would be the same in any divorce where there are children involved.

“They don’t have a voice at the moment and aren’t able to really express what they want.

“As divorce lawyers you are trying to manage your clients expectations about what might or might not happen.”

As for all the stories that are coming out of the woodwork about Brad’s behaviour, Sally believes it is about looking at the long-term to get it right for the children.

She said: “The key with how to handle it with the children is not reacting to all the allegations and effectively looking at the long term picture.

“This is because they are going to be co-parenting these children for the rest of their lives.”

Angelina is pushing to have sole custody of the six children, which Brad is going to challenge. Sally explains what this actually means as the Hollywood couple go to battle.

“Custody in the UK, is a word that’s rarely used. It is used in generic terms but in legal terms it is rarely used because it creates this acrimony that has one parent against the other.

“Custody is really talking about the where the children will live.

“Whereas access is about visitation and contact with the children.

“It could be that one of them is asking for residence with the children living with them and giving rights of contact to the other parent, whilst the other may be saying ‘no, it shouldn’t be sole custody for one and we should have co-parenting’.”

Sally continued to say that this is usual practice in the UK: “That is quite common now in the UK to have a shared care arrangement.

“The courts try to depart from the whole sole custody for one parent or residence with one parent as it causes so much acrimony.

“For non-celebrity parents, the issues that they are going through are the same.

“Where are the children going to live, who are they going to live with and what are the arrangements going to be.

“In the UK there are no set rules for that. Each couple would be different and they will have to try and reach an agreement.”

Let’s hope that Brangelina heed this advice as their split rumbles on.

There is one last word of warning from Sally though and that is to make sure you look at this from the kids point of view.

Sally concluded: “It is really common sense, put yourself where the children are at the moment.

“[The lawyers] would want to get something concrete in place for the children and get things back on track and hope that the media doesn’t take away the focus from them.”

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor