This rather lengthy post serves to summarize where I believe they are now. As before, I give the most weight to their own words and actions and then to statements that I can identify as coming from their reps.
I will not be posting another Random Fuzzy unless there is substantive new info. I will however continue to update and refine my thoughts below.
I fully expect that they will move to have the petition dismissed as soon as the kids are ready to live full time with Brad. That should be in the coming weeks.
I do not go to gossip sites or fan sites and I do not wish to have other people's theories in my consciousness. So please do not bother posting those here. I am fairly confident in my analysis primarily because I am basing it only on what I see from them.
The print version of the Us story on Brad and Angelina's Thanksgiving has some additional information.
First, it says, that Brad's parents had wanted him to join them in Springfield, Missouri but he opted instead to go to the Amanyara resort in Turks and Caicos.
The other, and more important piece is that the kids have started to warm up to him. The Jolie insider (her PR rep Judy Smith) said, "They are trying to reconnect. The visits have gone better." He had just 3 visits during the 8 weeks the DCFS investigation was open but it looks like he was able to squeeze in two more since Nov 9 despite being away for much of the time for his Allied commitments.
They have a therapist -- undoubtedly one of the best in this field -- working with and for the family to help ensure the visits are successful and that they continue to make timely progress towards their goal. Angelina is now able to work with both sides to help bring them together -- and as I explain further below, her help is the most critical. Brad is obviously very pleased with the results they've all achieved as we saw in his demeanor in Europe despite knowing that he wouldn't be spending Thanksgiving with them. A big part of this went into his heartfelt "Trust the person you love" statement. In agreeing to "everything on her terms" even if it meant continuing what "has been a difficult time" he showed both his trust and his love. The willingness to follow her lead even if it means painful sacrifice on his part is proof of unconditional love.
He has needed to trust her from the moment the DCFS and the FBI got involved and he is continuing to reap the rewards of having placed his trust in her.
In all the reports on how they spent Thanksgiving, no one mentioned Pax's birthday which followed right after.
Brad and Angelina can be together before and after his visits. The children will be closely watching and will take their cues especially from how their mother regards their father. Seeing their mother's love for their father is important as it shows she forgives him and reassures them that she is willing to trust him again, and seeing their father's love for their mother helps bring back memories of his loving side. Seeing their parents being as outwardly affectionate with each other as they were before will have a strong, positive effect on them and will greatly help Brad.
It is fairly obvious that Brad desperately needs Angelina's help to win back their children. The children trust only her. They know she will protect them. They listen to her. His attempts to win them back will not go far without her support.
That is why "everything is on her terms." She is deciding what is best for the family, and that has been her role from the start.
He desperately needs her help to rehabilitate his public image as well. Like his children, the public will view her continued love for him as proof that she forgives him and is willing to trust him again with their children. It is critical far a star in his position to restore his box office drawing power and there is no question she will do everything to help him. Otherwise he will join Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp as fallen stars and he doesn't have a Mission Impossible or Pirates franchise to fall back on. He will still be a highly respected producer but the big money is in being a movie star who can pull in audiences.
Right now, his personal and professional future depend on her.
I think Angelina will make every effort to make sure that Brad has a happy birthday celebration later this month. She is free to visit Brad as often as she is able, but she can't take the children with her unless they ask to come.
If things continue to improve at the same or even better pace, he should be able to graduate to unsupervised visits soon. Now that they are able to devote all their efforts and attention to this without interruptions or distractions, Christmas together should be a reachable goal.
If the "events that led to the dissolution filing" are over before Christmas they could have time to withdraw the petition and go on a trip together during the Holidays. Either way, I am sure they are all eager to take a long vacation. Brad had a few weeks of being out in the open during the Allied promo tour but for most of the last 10+ weeks they've all been underground and it looks like they intend to keep it that way until this is all over. I think that indicates they don't expect this to stretch much longer than a few weeks because they must be itching to break free being a very active and peripatetic family.
Leaving the petition in place not only removes outside pressure to speed up the kids healing but also spares them from having to explain why the children must live apart from Brad. The time will come when they will have to tell the full story of exactly what happened before, during and after the plane ride but for now they can just concentrate on the healing without having to face questions. This also helps Brad and Allied since the details are likely to be embarrassing for him. It's just another in the growing list of ways Angelina is protecting him.
Even to those who have not followed everything as closely as we have, it is clear just from this story that there is no custody battle. Her rep reports that "the visits have gone better" in a way that shows they are rooting for his success. Angelina of course is doing more than just rooting for him because as I wrote above, without her help, his efforts to win back their children won't go far.
Even if you didn't known that they love each other and have no intentions of ever divorcing, just from where Brad's relationship with the children stands, it should be fairly obvious that the goal they are working on with the therapist is to get the children to the point where they are willing to let him live with them and Angelina. Her presence in the home is critical. The kids will not agree to live with him if their mother is not also living with them.
Given how the children currently react to him, it may take years of them living together before the kids could get confident enough and trust him enough to be willing to live with him alone. Even without reading the legal agreement, no judge would award him joint custody after hearing from his children and the family therapist and seeing the effect he had on them. As her rep said, "At this point, the children wouldn't want to live with him, and they are of the age when their opinions matter." The hypothetical divorce scenario of him getting joint custody is totally impossible.
Angelina is the key to Brad again sharing the same home with his children. It will only happen with her and with her full support and encouragement. The children will follow her lead: if she has faith in him, they will try to have faith in him too. If not, there will be an impenetrable barrier to his children trusting him again. So setting aside his love for Angelina, it should be obvious that Brad will never agree to a divorce because if he loses Angelina, he loses his entire family.
They are letting people know that it is only the children's current relationship with their father that is keeping them apart. There is nothing else. There are no "irreconcilable differences." The only "difference" is the children's unease being with their father and they are doing their best to help heal the relationship. As Judy Smith said when they released their 1st statement:
“Back when Angelina first filed for divorce, she said that the reason she filed was for the safety and health and well-being of the kids and that has been her consistent point of view from the beginning,” the source explained. “Nothing has changed.”
It's notable that Angelina's rep took care describing their Thanksgiving as a "nice family dinner. It was quiet." She avoided saying they were happy because it would be painful for Brad to read that they were happy in his absence. "Quiet" suggests a subdued celebration which would be more reassuring to him because it hints that they may have missed him -- and they probably did.
Angelina would have been happier if the children had decided to spend it with him but she would not overrule them. Her rep has consistently emphasized that it is the children and the therapist who decide their schedule with Brad -- without any input from Angelina. She can talk to them to remind them of their father's love or the fun times they shared but she won't interfere once they've made their decision. It has always been Angelina's parenting style to give the children more freedom to do what they want.
I think People's story on his Turks and Caicos trip was probably the closest to what Brad approved for release as it said simply that he had a "very restful and relaxing stay. "
It is also notable that several reports on his Turks and Caicos trip made a point to say that he was with a male buddy. I had posted earlier that his rep made the rare denial about a story that he and Kate Hudson were dating. Previously, a rep also denied that a man who was largely critical of Angelina ever worked with Brad or his security team. Normally, denials are just made by an anonymous "insider" or "friend" or "source close to." Having a rep deny the stories while being identified as a rep makes them particularly strong denials.
I had also noted that his posed red carpet photos with Marion Cotillard reminded me of Angelina's posed red carpet photos with Johnny Depp for The Tourist. His hands would be in his pockets and they maintained a visible gap between him and Marion. Brad saw himself in the same situation Angelina was in and just like her, didn't want to give the tabloids any photo they can twist and manipulate.
There is a consistent and firm effort on his part to prevent any story from spreading that seeks to link him with anyone else and to avoid situations that could lead to stories that he is interested in, or in the company of, another woman.
I see this as further confirmation that while they must live apart until the children are ready, behind the scenes they are the same couple they were before and react to things as they would have in the past. I would even argue that he is reacting much more forcefully now to deny these stories than he would have previously because I don't recall his reps reacting to tabloid reports before.
Just as Angelina has sought to protect his feelings, Brad is also acting firmly to protect Angelina's feelings by making sure she has no reason for concern.
I would guess Brad opted to skip Thanksgiving with his parents because seeing his siblings, their spouses and children together would only make him more miserable that he is alone. But he'll be back with his family another time.
The children obviously emerged from that plane when it landed in L.A. very badly shaken and traumatized. And of course it didn't help to have investigators from the DCFS and the FBI asking them to recount everything in detail over and over.
I was happy to read that they've started to warm up to him again because I do believe he loves them dearly and is very remorseful about what happened. I also believe that he was a great father to them for most of the past 12 years but for whatever reason, he started to react badly to the combination of weed and alcohol.
Whatever toxic combination Brad ingested or imbibed before and during the plane ride must now have been banished from his life forever -- and he looks better and healthier for it.
Angelina must have been very upset with him when she left the plane but I suspect most of her anger dissipated when she was forced to file and couldn't even talk to him to explain. They were reduced to reassuring each other of their love through media reports before they were able to communicate through their attorneys as mandated by the safety plan.
I think the reason why she is so protective of him is she was deeply affected by the physical and emotional toll the previous weeks have had on him. And he feels the same way about her, he also sees the evidence of the ordeal she was forced to go through, and he additionally knows he was the cause of it all.
They obviously love each other and I am sure they will emerge from the most painful and challenging situation they've faced in their lives with their bond even stronger.
She is usually a very frank and honest interview so we will know the full story in a few months time when First They Killed My Father is released. But even if Brad isn't involved in the film, I think they may have to grant a joint interview because he would need to simultaneously do a mea culpa.
I am reprinting below an excerpt from Tom Junod's 2013 Esquire story on Brad because I think it is relevant to some point I made above:
His name was Frank Pollaro, and he’d spoken about the furniture business he’d started with Brad Pitt, and about Pitt’s excellent eye. But he wanted to say something else, so he called Brad, and asked if he was at liberty to speak about Brad’s relationship with Angelina. He was, and so when he called back, he told me what he’d seen at Brad’s house -- “once I walked in and Angie was standing there and Zahara walked up and said, ‘Daddy, you’re not going to start making out with Mommy again, are you?’ And it’s like that. This is a guy who has tried not to do any sexy scenes with other women since he’s met Angelina. He’s crazy about her, and she’s the same way about him. No matter how hard he’s working, if one of those kids runs by the window he’ll get out of his chair and give them a kiss. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Angie without one of those children in her arms.”
Yes, he did a sexy scene with Marion Cotillard but she is an Academy Award winning actress Angelina already met before, the director is Robert Zemeckis with whom Angelina worked on Beowulf, and the producer is Graham King who also produced Blood and Honey, so I am sure it was with Angelina's full and enthusiastic approval. But the point of why he tried not to do "any sexy scenes with other women" was to avoid giving Angelina any reason for concern and he is continuing that effort now as noted above.
River Phoeniz (Thanks!) shared info regarding a Stipulation and Order.
A Stipulation And Order is a document you can file with the court.
You are in agreement with your spouse regarding some type of temporary order. This could be a temporary order for anything such as, Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody, Visitation, you name it. If you agree to it, it can be written up as an agreement which is called a Stipulation and Order.
They may have filed some parts of the legal agreement with the court because as noted above, custody and visitation is one of the issues frequently covered by a S&O and it is the only issue between them based on her petition and his response. Officially settling the issue would basically put them back in the same position they were in before he filed his response, i.e. he agrees that she has custody while he gets visitation. This may have been how they intended to proceed before TMZ's spin forced them into revealing the existence of the legal agreement.
Angelina has always been sensitive to suggestions hat she is keeping Brad from the children and this eliminates that narrative. They hope to remove all the drama that gets inserted into stories about them.
Macy (Thanks!) shared that someone said it was about the proceeds from the sale of their New Orleans property. Angelina did indicate in her petition that she wanted her earnings and accumulations from the date of the separation. However, they did not file a list of their assets in either the petition or the response so the court is not even officially aware of the New Orleans property -- or ANY property for that matter. The court cannot rule on assets it does not officially know exist.
As noted above, the only issue before the court was custody since Angelina did not check any other item -- she did not ask that her name be changed back, she did not ask for child or spousal support, and she did not list any assets other than miscellaneous jewelry. That alone makes it rather obvious that the petition was only so the children could stay with her -- earlier to satisfy the DCFS and now to allow them to heal towards their father at their own pace.
As noted previously and reposted below, for the petition to proceed, they need to file more information about their assets, income, etc. and failure to do so could get the petition dismissed even without any action on their part.
Can You Stop the Divorce Process in California After the Waiting Period?
California law mandates that the divorce process take at least six months, and this waiting period does not begin until your spouse is officially served with the divorce petition. The waiting period may be inconvenient for those in a hurry to put their marriages behind them, but it gives the parties time for reconsideration. If you change your mind about finalizing the separation before or after the six-months, you can stop the divorce process in several different ways.
California divorces are no-fault divorces. That means that if you wish to terminate your marriage, you need not show that you were a victim of your spouse's violence, infidelity or even bad manners. A claim of irreconcilable differences is sufficient. You initiate a divorce by filing a petition and supporting papers with the Superior Court in your county of residence or your spouse's. When a sheriff or third party serves the court papers on your spouse, it triggers the mandated six-month waiting period.
Some people file for divorce in California expecting their marriage to end exactly 180 days after their divorce papers are served. But this is not the case. The six-month period provides a minimum term before which a divorce cannot be granted but California divorces can and often do take far longer. Serving a petition for divorce is only the first of many steps you must undertake before the court will sign your divorce judgment. You are entitled to a divorce either when all of your paperwork is complete or after six months, whichever comes later.
Failure to complete your divorce paperwork will stop your divorce proceeding. Whether or not your husband responds to your petition, you are required to file certain documents, including income, asset and debt disclosures, a judgment form and notice of entry of judgment. If your spouse doesn't respond at all, you must also file documents asking the court to enter his default. If you fail to file any of these forms, the court will not enter a divorce judgment. Continued inaction will ultimately lead the court to dismiss the petition for divorce whether or not the six-month waiting period has passed.
Request for Dismissal
You don't have to wait for the court to dismiss your petition on its own initiative to stop your divorce proceeding. As the party who brought the petition for divorce, you can file a Request for Dismissal at any point before judgment is entered irrespective of the six-month waiting period. Once the court receives a proof of service establishing that your spouse was served with your dismissal request, it will dismiss the petition of divorce and terminate the divorce proceeding. If your spouse filed a response, he must also sign the dismissal request. Find the forms on the court website or through an online legal form provider.