About Barry

Barry Goldstein is the co-author with Elizabeth Liu of Representing the Domestic Violence Survivor REPRESENTING THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR, co editor with Mo Therese Hannah of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY and author of SCARED TO LEAVE AFRAID TO STAY. He has been an instructor and supervisor in a NY Model Batterer Program since 1999. He was an attorney representing victims of domestic violence for 30 years. He now provides workshops, judicial and other trainings regarding domestic violence particularly related to custody issues. He also serves as a consultant and expert witness.

Barry's new book, The Quincy Solution: Stop Domestic Violence and Save $500 Billion demonstrates how we can dramatically reduce domestic violence crime with proven practices.

Contact Barry today to speak at your event, consult or as an expert witness!

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About Veronica

After a 20 year Sales and Marketing career in the Television Industry, Veronica York felt a passion and a calling to make a career change. Following a 10 year marriage that was both mentally and emotionally abusive, and going through a difficult custody battle, she started her High Conflict Coaching practice. During her experience with the family court system, she realized that the best interest of the children was not the first priority. Parental rights are trumping children’s rights and children are suffering unnecessarily due to the outdated practices of judges and other court professionals. Along with helping her clients navigate their custody battles, she is also an advocate for change in the family court system as well as a champion for Domestic Violence training and education. Veronica is certified with the High Conflict Divorce Certification Program and has advanced training in family law mediation. She performs speaking engagements and writes articles regarding the topics of Child Custody Issues that involve Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse. She also does training on the misuse of Parental Alienation and the effects of Post Separation Abuse during a divorce.

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Equal Parenting Perspectives: A Closer Look at the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Case - Photo by cottonbro studio - Pexels

Article by Veronica York

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married in 2014. Jolie filed for divorce just two years later in 2016. Angelina cited irreconcilable differences along with reports of domestic violence and child abuse, regarding an incident with Brad and their son, Maddox, who was 15 at the time of the incident. As of now, the court documents in this case are sealed and no one outside of the court proceedings truly knows the details of the case. This custody battle is high profile due to the celebrity status of the parties, but this type of case occurs in counties all across the United States and deserves a closer look.

The topic of equal parenting or 50/50 physical and legal custody of divorced parents is a very contentious issue. It brings up such issues as gender-bias, traditional roles of mothers and fathers, and ultimately what is best for the children. It can be equivalent in controversy to discussions of religion and politics.

A study by Gabrielle Davis J.D.et al, “The Danger of Presumptive Joint Physical Custody” finds that equal parenting can sometimes work in ideal situations. If both parents are cordial, cooperative, live close by each other, and truly make decisions together based on the best interest of their children. The research also shows that equal parenting cannot work when one of the parents views themselves as superior over the other parent or has a history of violence and/or abuse in the relationship. Additional studies contend that equal parenting (50/50 physical custody) is never the best answer for children due to the disruption in the children’s lives.

In the case of Jolie and Pitt, where there are allegations of domestic violence and child abuse, the Saunders Study, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, finds that is it crucial to do four things before making any ruling on custody when these allegations are present. It is imperative to: Screen for Domestic Violence, Provide a Risk Assessment for the Case, Consider any Post Separation Abuse, and Look at the Impact of the Violence on the Children using the ACE Study. ACEs is peer-reviewed research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If the courts do not commit to looking at these factors, the risk of harm to the children grows tremendously.

In a quote from a 2017 interview Brad Pitt did with GQ speaking about his break-up with Jolie he said: "I grew up with a Father-knows-best/war mentality—the father is all-powerful, super-strong—instead of really knowing the man and his own self-doubt and struggles. And it's hit me smack in the face with our divorce: I gotta be more. I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven't been great at it." This quote gives us some insight into the mentality that Pitt and other men have regarding their role as a husband and father. Just until this last generation, violence in the home was highly acceptable when it came from the man of the house. Even though our laws have changed, the mentality of the “Father-knows-best & The father is all-powerful” is still there. I agree that a father is a very important part of a child’s life. Children need strong, loving male role models in their lives. The problem occurs when their father is abusive to their mother or to them. As ACEs tell us, the fear and stress caused by abusive fathers effects the health and well-being of children well into their adult lives. They are more likely to suffer from things like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, heart disease, and even cancer.

Brad Pitt and his legal team maintain that Jolie is using the children as pawns and her only goal is to hurt Brad by continuing this very nasty custody battle. The media reports that Pitt has never been convicted of any violence and that the allegations of abuse were not substantiated. He is just a father that wants to spend more time with his kids. These things may be true, but they do not prove that Angelina and the children are lying about his abuse. A very common mistake courts make is that women and children often claim false allegations of violence. According to the Bala Study, this is only the case less than 2% of the time. Moreover, initially in the Jolie-Pitt case, there was a safety order in the custody arrangements (that is public) and the children’s visitation with Brad was set under jurisdiction of family services for three years. In fact, Brad sought to seal the details of the arrangements made in 2016 with an emergency hearing, but Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. denied his request. The agreement called for Brad to have visitation with his children only under the guidance of a therapist.

Brad and Angelina’s eldest son Maddox, now 20 and considered an adult, has a voice in this case and it is not favorable towards his father, according to OK! Magazine. Angelina would like for the other children to have a voice as well. According to court records, Angelina Jolie has filed several documents making it clear that she is ready and willing to offer "proof and authority in support" of alleged domestic violence during her divorce trial against Brad Pitt. Along with Angelina's testimony, there is a separate document filing concerning the testimony from the former couple's minor children, but Judge Ouderkirk, according to Angelina, denied her a fair trial by his refusal to let the children’s voices be heard. In response, Angelina successfully had Judge Oudekirk removed from the case in July 2021, by a California Supreme Court decision. USA Today reports that Pitt is currently seeking a review of the ruling.

Angelina states that this battle is far from over and she will appeal the decision of equal custody. She believes the health and safety of her children are at stake. According to the scientific research and studies like Saunders, ACE Study, Bala Study, and Joan Meier. She has every right to think so, and as any protective mother would, she will continue to fight for their best interests. Angelina is not only fighting for the protection of her own children, but she is also advocating for women, children, and families around the world. CNN reports that just recently she met with White House officials to discuss reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. This is a landmark piece of legislation championed by President Joe Biden.

The Family Court System needs very serious reforms as indicated by proposed bills such as The Safe Child Act, Kyra’s Law, Kayden’s Law and Jennifer’s Law. It’s time children had a voice in custody battles specifically where allegations of domestic violence and child abuse are present.