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Lessons to be Learned from the Brangelina Divorce

Lessons to be Learned from the Brangelina Divorce

Disecting the Brangelina Divorce

As far as Hollywood couples go, Brangelina lasted longer than most. The era of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie lasted 12 years. During this time, the jet setting Hollywood couple gave us many topics of speculation. First was the way in which they started their relationship (rumoured to be on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith), then came quick additions to their family, followed by marital bliss. Along the way, the public saw the glamour of their lavish family lifestyle, yet now a grimmer reality is emerging – one of infidelity accusations, health scares, and yes, divorce. Heres a look at the Brangelina divorce, plus the role parenting issues play in most divorces.

Brangelina Divorce

In happier times (Photo credit: AFP/Toru YamanakaSource:AFP)

Angelina: Divorce Spin

Angelina filed for divorce on September 19, citing irreconcilable differences and requesting sole physical custody of the children. Knowing the publicity to come, Angelina was prepared to uphold her own image and protect herself and the children from impending backlash. At this time, shes released two public statements: both requesting privacy for herself and her family. For Angelina, the spin plays a critical role in how she’ll be perceived by the media through out the divorce. She has a complex past with two previous marriages and a self proclaimed bad girl reputation. Angelinas decision to step out of the limelight during this time is all part of a well managed spin on how to protect ego, save face and be perceived as the “good guy.”

Brad Pitt: Divorce Reaction

Although both parties have openly discussed marital issues in the media, Brad was completely blindsided by the divorce. Media accusations of child abuse, pot use, and infidelity are quickly influencing the publics perception of his image. Typically, when one partner is in a reactionary position, there is a disconnect between the couple regarding their desired timing for a conclusion. Often, the party that initiates the separation is mentally prepared and at a far different stage of the grieving process than the blindsided party. Its common for the initiating party to want an immediate resolution, as they’re already well down the path toward envisioning their future. The other party still needs time to process and grieve, in order to be ready to reach a resolution.

The Brangelina Divorce Issue

Stories unfolding in the media suggest parenting conflicts are the primary cause of Angelinas decision to file for divorce. Although parenting issues certainly play a role in a couples disconnect, it’s only in relatively extreme cases that these reasons alone contribute to a marital breakdown. Over time, different parenting styles can lead to increased frustration and exacerbate other problems in a relationship.

Other common causes of divorce are:

  • Lack of effective communication
  • Affairs – both physical and emotional
  • Financial strain
  • Lifestyle issues such as excessive partying
  • Lack of time spent together, this often occurs when two people have demanding schedules and drift apart
  • The death of a child

Often, there’s a combination of all or most of these issues – much like we are hearing in the Brangelina divorce.

What Are They Doing Right?

Both parties have stated that they want what is best for the children. Maintaining this child focus throughout the divorce is ideal, as it allows for a paradigm shift. Instead of being on opposite sides fighting each other, they can realign their approach to focus on what matters to them. They can work together to ensure the children continue to thrive, as the family is restructured and the partys roles are redefined as co-parents.

What Are They Doing Wrong?

Angelina is coming out on the attack with allegations of misconduct on Brads part. She’s seeking sole custody and primary parenting, and suggesting a concern for the childrens safety. This all leads to an adversarial environment that’s difficult to come back from. A combative beginning often leads to litigation, at least initially. Litigation is extraordinarily expensive, time consuming and very stressful. Although the expense wouldn’t be a concern for Brad or Angelina, its a significant factor for most people.

Advice for Couples When First Separating

Its important for both parties to be respectful, and to avoid starting a smear campaign. In cases where children are involved, they should be protected from conflict. Parents shouldnt make negative comments about the other parent to or in front of the children, or allow others to do so. Avoid arguing in front of the children or using the children to exchange information, instead, present a united front. Each party should obtain legal advice early on, and chose a dispute resolution process carefully.

Advice for Couples Before Marriage

Ideally, parenting expectations are discussed before you tie the knot. You want to ensure youre on the same page about how your children will be raised, and what each of your roles will be during the marriage. In addition to parenting styles, it is crucial to discuss all other major issues such as:

  • Financial plans – including expectations around spending, saving, working
  • Trust issues: what is and isnt acceptable to you and your partner
  • Lifestyle expectations
  • Fundamental beliefs and core values

Whether you’re a celebrity or not, going through a separation or divorce can be the most challenging time of your life. Our team of Calgary-based family lawyers is committed to helping clients achieve the best possible outcome in their divorce. Connect with us to set up an initial consultation.

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