“Brangelina” divorce is off to an all too common start. Rumors are swirling of an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) against Brad [Pitt] for alleged verbal and physical abuse of their six children, resulting in countless news articles including “How Angelina Jolie Won the First Big Battle in Her Divorce”[i]. Whether or not the allegations are true, the articles insinuate Angelina is using the public relations battle as leverage in the divorce negotiations. This is never a good option, especially for the children involved.
Many divorce cases begin with a similar investigation by DCFS or one party seeking an Order of Protection. In the instances where there is real danger to one party or the children, it is important to properly file the required pleadings and weigh all the available remedies under the law such as revocation or supervision of parenting time and court-ordered drug testing or counseling.
Other times, a party makes false or exaggerated claims to gain an advantage in the beginning of the divorce case, in some instances without notice to the other party. Judges will often err on the side of caution to ensure no further harm is caused to a party or the children, but it sets the divorce case immediately on a more litigious track. Additionally, the remedies awarded are very harsh and difficult to reverse. If this happens, the accused party faces an uphill battle to correct the narrative and re-set the tone of the case. Bottom line, the children should be taken into account first and there are ways to keep nasty allegations out of the public realm. The attorneys at Beermann are experienced in keeping high profile matters low profile.
Kaitlin M. Post, Family Law Attorney