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Contentious legal battle looming in Pitt-Jolie divorce

Movie fans in Tennessee and around the country may have been surprised in August 2016 when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced that they were seeking a divorce. The Hollywood glamour couple appeared to have the world at their feet, but a brewing contentious legal battle would appear to indicate that they were actually far from happy.

It became clear that the divorce would not be an amicable one when Pitt was accused of mistreating one of the couple's six children on a private aircraft in September. The Academy Award-nominated actor was subsequently cleared by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, but hopes of a friendly and speedy conclusion to the case appeared all but lost in the wake of the allegations.

The finger of blame often points in both directions during contentious child custody disputes, and it was Pitt's attorneys who went on the offensive in December just weeks before the celebrity couple is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom. Pitt's lawyers want the records of the couple's children sealed after media outlets printed the names of mental health professional who have been helping them to adjust and cope.

Parents involved in bitter custody battles are often convinced that their children would suffer irreparable harm should they lose. Disappointment is inevitable when both parents feel this way, but family law judges are concerned only with what is in the child's best interests. Attorneys with experience in this type of legal battle may point out that court actions are public, expensive and come with no guarantees, and they could suggest alternative approaches such as mediation when traditional negotiating strategies have failed.

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