There's no debating that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's divorce and custody battle has dragged on for more than two years now. But what is less clear is how close the warring exes really are to settling their differences in the wake of a new court filing and fresh conflicting reports about what the latest legal news means.
According to a document filed on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles County's Family Court, the exes have asked for the tenure of the retired judge who's privately been working on their case to be extended to June 30, 2019. The same judge is also set to preside over their custody trial, which is set begin behind closed doors on Dec. 4.
People magazine, however, reported late on Nov. 6 that the trial date should be viewed as a target date by which the actors could finally reach an agreement over their six kids: Maddox, 17, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 12, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 10. Multiple sources tell People that both sides are working on an out-of-court settlement to avoid going to trial.
People further reports something new: It has long been believed and widely reported that Angelina — who initially filed for sole custody of the children when she left Brad in September 2016 — has continued to insist on sole custody while Brad has always sought joint custody. But an insider now tells People, "Angelina isn't seeking full custody."
The Blast, however, reported early on Nov. 7 that the exes actually are gearing up for a custody trial because Angelina "wants sole custody and has been unwavering," it writes, while Brad "has been trying to work out a settlement and believes there is no reason the two parents can't split custody 50/50."
Further, Brad feels that his wife of more than two years and partner of nearly 12 "is purely trying to drag him thought he mud in the upcoming custody trial and is worried about the long-term effects it will have on their six children," The Blast explains, citing sources close to the case.
Brad, it adds, thinks Angelina's tactics are irresponsible to their children and believes a trial would only serve to put the kids through an unnecessarily damaging experience.
The Blast's sources believe that Angelina will try to use the mysterious September 2016 private plane incident involving Brad and one or more of their kids — the altercation led her to file for divorce and him to face a child services investigation, which ultimately cleared him of any wrongdoing — in her fight for custody. Brad's legal team, however, "is not worried about Jolie's tactics because the actor was never criminally charged with anythign and the custody case is not a criminal matter," The Blast explains.
In recent months, Brad has reportedly had every-other-day visitation with the children as part of a temporary custody plan. The move came after a judge warned Angelina she was in danger of losing custody herself if she did not help improve the kids' relationship with heir father and stop interfering in the relationship.
In October, two months after Angelina accused Brad of failing to pay "meaningful child support" — which his team denied — legal documents revealed that a psychologist was about to begin conducting a formal custody evaluation for the fractured family.