A reader, Cara, wrote
FYI, I called DHS and asked a hypothetical question regarding if parents allowed to communicate while under investigation for child abuse and are divorcing. The personnel said as long as there isn't a no contact order or restraining order they should be fine to communicate with counsel as needed.
I previously posted:
The protective order against the actor, 52, has been extended as investigators look into whether there are additional incidents or a pattern...
Noting that DCFS glossary defines an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) Restraining order as
An order issued by the court, which enjoins a person from engaging in a specified behavior or activity, limits the distance a person may approach a specific location and/or person, or excludes a person from a specific dwelling or place of business.
And if there is a protective order the courts would be involved.
An ex-prate temporary restraining order issued by the Superior Court following a determination by law enforcement that a child is in immediate danger of abuse by a member of a child’s family or household. An EPO may exclude any parent, guardian or member of a child’s household from the dwelling of the person having the care, custody, and control of the child. EPO allow children to remain in their home while allegations of child abuse by the restrained parties are investigated and allow the non-offending parent time to seek assistance from Family Law Court.
And I recalled the ET post:
In the wake of child abuse allegations leveled against Pitt, the Department of Children and Family Services reportedly implemented a child safety plan. ET confirms that, given the safety plan, it's unlikely the 52-year-old star has been in contact with Jolie directly, as any communication would likely need to go through both parties' attorneys.
So IF there was no restraining order, they could communicate with counsel as needed. And that sounds like the situation described by ET, "any communication would likely need to go through both parties' attorneys."
But there was a restraining order. There would have been additional restrictions even with communication with counsel. There may have been rules on what sort of messages they could send each other through counsel. And with a no contact order maybe not even that much.
That means the earliest that Angelina could explain what was happening to Brad thru her attorney to his was after Brad hired Lance Spiegel on Sept. 22. Things noticeably quieted down after Sept 23 so Weeser probably got to meet with Spiegel around that time.
Over 8 weeks, Brad had 3 supervised visits with his kids and allowed very limited indirect communication with Angelina. Is it any wonder Brad looks like he went through a very miserable 2 months?
Let's look again at the original report on the temporary agreement they agreed to last Sept 30:
Here are the terms of the temporary agreement:Brad has not yet advanced beyond supervised visits so while Angelina and Brad may have had individual counseling, it looks like they haven't yet been ready for family counseling.
-- Angelina gets full physical custody of the 6 kids.
-- Brad gets visitation, with strings attached. The initial visit is with a therapist present and the therapist then has the power to either allow Brad subsequent unmonitored visits or insist on being present whenever he's around the kids.
-- Brad is subject to random drug/alcohol testing. As we reported, Angelina believes Brad has issues with alcohol and weed. Our law enforcement sources say Brad's first test was negative for drugs and alcohol.
-- Brad and Angelina will each submit to individual counseling. In addition, Brad, Angelina and the kids will undergo family counseling together.
We're told Angelina agreed with recommendation because her focus is to "heal" her family and her children.
I think when the plan was drawn up, everyone expected that Brad would progress to unsupervised visits and the family could then have counseling together and perhaps be healed by the end of the period.
Clearly, they are behind schedule.
Part of it undoubtedly is because the plane ride was traumatic for the children and Maddox especially needed more time to heal. But supervised visits typically run for just an hour -- less for Maddox's first -- and having just 3 over 8 weeks isn't going to help very much with reestablishing their bond.
I wonder if perhaps the DCFS was too strict. Because if Angelina and Brad were free to communicate directly and there were no restrictions on her, Angelina might have been better able to help the children and Brad get together and "heal" the family much sooner.
At any rate, they should finally be able to start the healing process subject to whatever is in the legal agreement.
I have begun to wonder: what is in that agreement?
Right now, Brad still can't talk and Angelina is still in hiding giving very cryptic statements. She can't talk either.
And I thought back to her first statement.
"We can confirm that childcare professionals have encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides over a week ago. In accordance with this agreement, the six children will stay in their mother's custody, and the children will continue therapeutic visits with their father. This has been determined by childcare professionals to be in the children's best interest."
We are not in a position to discuss the details. We hope now that it is clear the events which led to the dissolution filing involved minor children and their wellbeing , there will be understanding of the sensitivity of the family situation. We believe that all sides are committed to healing the family and ask for your consideration during this difficult time."
When you have cryptic statements, simultaneously dense and vague, some things pop out on another pass that seemed less clear before.
I wrote that she seems to be referring to the previous paragraph re the legal agreement as being among the "events" that led to the filing. And of course while the agreement itself is just 2 weeks old, "childcare professionals" had determined that the children should "stay in their mother's custody" from the start -- i.e. when the filing was made.
The implication here is that there is still outside pressure on the family. The "events" that led her to file are still present and embodied in the legal agreement. For so long as the children still require therapeutic visits, the family remains in a sensitive position because they are difficult rules it must still follow.
Here again is the 2nd statement:
"The job of the DCFS is to make sure the children are in a safe and secure situation. As we said earlier this week, childcare professionals encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides that was in the best interest of the children. Angelina said from the beginning that she felt she had to take action for the health of the family and is relieved that after their 8-week involvement, the DCFS is now satisfied the safeguards are put in place that will allow the children to heal."
Her relief implies that the end of the DCFS' prolonged involvement means there is less of a threat to the health of the family. But she doesn't say that the threat and the need for the action is over.
So if the "events" that led to the filing are still present, then we are not going to see a dismissal until those "events" are gone.