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Tuesday 25 June 2019

Judge refuses Brad Pitt's request to seal custody filings

Brad Pitt's request to seal details of his custody dispute has been denied
Brad Pitt's request to seal details of his custody dispute has been denied

A judge has rejected Brad Pitt's request to seal details about custody arrangements in his divorce from Angelina Jolie.

Los Angeles Superior Court Richard J Burdge Jr. denied Pitt's request in a brief written order that states the filing did not meet the requirements for sealing details at this time.

Pitt had sought to seal details of his custody dispute with Jolie at an emergency hearing, but Mr Burdge declined to hear the petition on an expedited basis.

Pitt's motion came two days after the release of a custody agreement that he and his estranged wife reached in late October. The agreement calls for the actor to have visitation with his children under the guidance of a therapist.

Pitt intends to seek temporary custody orders soon, and his filing states that he wanted those documents sealed to protect the children's privacy. He was also seeking the sealing of any custody-related filings.

"I am extremely concerned that if court records regarding custody are not sealed, information contained therein will cause irreparable damage to our children's privacy rights," Pitt wrote in a sworn declaration filed on Wednesday.

Pitt's attorney Gary Fishbein declined comment after the hearing.

Jolie filed for divorce in September and currently has primary custody of their six children.

Her attorneys wrote in court filings on Wednesday that: "His... request is a thinly veiled attempt to shield himself, rather than the minor children, from public view."

The divorce filing came days after a disagreement broke out on private flight ferrying the actors and their children from France to Los Angeles.

Pitt was accused of being abusive toward his 15-year-old son during the flight, but investigations by child welfare officials and the FBI were closed with no charges being filed against the actor.

After filing for divorce, Jolie's attorney said it was done "for the health of the family".

Custody has been the primary issue in the divorce. Jolie is seeking sole custody of the children, while Pitt is seeking joint custody. A final agreement will be part of the couple's divorce judgment when it is entered.

California law favors joint custody, although details about custody arrangements are rarely made public in celebrity divorce cases.

Jolie's attorney Laura Wasser said the actress does not oppose sealing details of the pair's custody arrangements, but Pitt's attorneys did not consult with them before filing the motion on Wednesday.

Pitt and Jolie were married for two years and together for 12 years after becoming close while filming 2005's Mr & Mrs Smith.


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