Why is Angelina Jolie Asking for Sole Physical Custody?

Should Angelina Jolie Be Award Sole Physical Custody?

Angelina Jolie Seeking Sole Physical Custody
Pitt/Jolie with children in happier days. Juan Sato/WireImage/Getty Images

According to a slew of online entertainment news sites, Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt and is requesting sole physical custody of their six children. Sole physical custody means the children would live with Jolie on a day-to-day basis, leaving Pitt with only visitation rights.

Both of these parents have, in what little we know of their relationship with their children, seemed very involved in the rearing of their children. If Pitt has been a deeply involved father, Jolie asking for sole physical custody is an indication that she either believes the children would be in danger when in his custody or, it indicates that she is attempting to exert control over the children or use the children as a weapon to punish Pitt for a possible affair with Marion Cotillard he is rumored to have had. 

Sole Physical Custody as a Means of Protecting the Children

Although Angelina has not accused Pitt of abuse or neglect, she has stated that physical custody would be in the "children’s best interest." Given a Page Six’s report that “The atmosphere was full of hard drugs and Russian hookers, and Angie was told Brad got caught up in it,’’ it sounds as if Jolie is of the opinion that Pitt’s lifestyle, at the moment, isn’t in their children’s best interest. 

If, as it has been reported, Jolie has tangible and compelling evidence that Pitt is involved in an affair, using drugs and around unsavory individuals, wouldn’t any parent take steps to protect their children?

A judge, should their case go to court, will decide custody on the factors below. If the reports of Pitt doing drugs are true, that is a huge strike against him and his relationship with his children. Of course, with his assets he could hire someone to make sure the children have access to a safe place to live, are well-fed, supervised and loved. But, a judge is going to consider it his place to do those things for his children so, his assets may not play a role in a custody decision if Jolie can prove he is a danger to their children. 

  • Will the child have a safe place to live?
  • Will the child be well-fed and clothed?
  • Will the child be supervised enough?
  • Will the child get enough emotional support?
  • Which parent has been taking care of the child?
  • Does either parent abuse the child?
  • Does either parent abuse drugs or alcohol?
  • Does either parent expose the child to domestic violence?

Parents often make the mistake of thinking that a simple allegation or even proof that the other parent has used drugs or alcohol is, by itself, enough to support a sole physical custody request. Divorce law generally requires more than just the bare allegation that one parent uses drugs. So, if Jolie intends to fight for sole custody, she will have an uphill battle in front of her.

And, since a source is telling TMZ, "There's no chance that's going to happen. Pitt wants joint custody ... he doesn't want to interfere with Angelina's ability to be a co-parent, but he won't allow her to thwart him,” it looks like a custody battle is ahead if they can’t come to an agreement outside of court.  

Sole Physical Custody as a Means to Gain the Upper Hand

This doesn’t pertain specifically to Angelina Jolie but, it is common for parents to attempt to gain sole physical custody as a means to gain an upper hand over the other parent. It isn’t uncommon, especially for mothers, to feel their cheating spouse should have no rights to the children. There is a misguided tendency for some to feel that a husband not only cheated on the wife but the children also and in doing so forfeited their parental rights.

You and I know that is hogwash driven by anger and spite but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

If Jolie is angry and wants to punish Pitt, there is no better way to do so than limit the time he has with his children. Her humanitarian works may not extend to the man who cheated on her and the father of her children. When a heart is broken and damaged punishing the one who caused the pain can seem more important than what is really in the best interest of the children. 

I hope for the children’s sake that Jolie doesn’t take that route through the turbulent waters she and Pitt are about to navigate.