Spiegel's email on Nov. 28 indicated that the two older boys still didn't want to see their dad, but by Dec. 6, her rep said, "she is looking for a new home in the Los Angeles area so that she can continue the family therapy sessions" -- so they may have started family therapy with Maddox and Pax sometime in between.
If Pax was refusing to see Brad as of the 28th, he obviously would not want him present at his birthday celebration on the 29th, and Angelina and Brad would respect his wishes. They probably had their first complete family therapy session on Nov. 30 and that was when the therapist and Angelina noted that Brad needed help with his interactions with the children. Maddox and Pax walked out of their only visit with Brad in late October. In her Dec. 1 email, Wasser wrote, "We also propose that the parties participate in joint sessions with a trauma specialist so that they may learn how to best support and interact with their children given their current state." Wasser and Spiegel serve as liaisons with the mental health professionals so all decisions and discussions that involve trauma specialists must pass through them.
The full family therapy sessions may have started too late to help Brad join the family for Thanksgiving or Pax's birthday, but they may have been aiming to finish as many as they can before the Christmas holidays -- hence Angelina's move to a house that would be more convenient.
What sessions they've had so far appear to have already made a significant impact.
A "Pitt source" recently said, "Brad hopes to see the kids for Christmas at some point, but when hasn't been determined." A "second Pitt source" later said that Brad will "definitely" see them around that time, but not necessarily Christmas Eve or Day. It's no longer a question of if he'll spend the Christmas holiday with them but when. And Christmas Eve and Christmas Day haven't been ruled out.
That is impressive progress given that he couldn't spend any part of the Thanksgiving holiday with the family -- not Thanksgiving Day or even Thanksgiving weekend. Just two weeks ago, when the S&O was filed, ET wrote: "As for if Pitt will see the children for the holidays, that remains unclear. 'If a child says they don't want to see Brad on Christmas, the psychiatrist isn't going to force them,' the source says. 'That's the whole purpose of this agreement.'"
The family therapy sessions have made it possible for Brad to join the rest of the family in and outside of therapy, whereas previously the older boys' opposition was a stumbling block that he had no means of solving.
Angelina's solution was to work on getting the older boys to agree to see their father during family therapy so they could gradually be more accepting and comfortable around him. Her support and encouragement during the family therapy sessions which were Brad's only chance to be with them, combined with the joint therapy designed to help Brad improve his interactions with all the children have enabled the family to spend time together this Holiday season. Brad is finally having positive interactions with the boys which should leave him feeling more confident about his progress.
Brad was pushing for additional visits with the aim of spending more time with the family during the Holiday period. The therapy sessions have enabled him to get even more than what he could have hoped for with a RFO while leaving him on far firmer footing.
It appears that they've made a strong effort to keep outlets from mentioning their "reunification goals." To date, none of the stories I've read that quoted parts of the same email have referenced it, quoted it or even hinted at it.
Recall that Wasser wrote: I understand that Brad is frustrated but feel that it is incumbent upon us to help this family achieve their long-term reunification goals in a smooth and expeditious manner. Litigation absolutely does not effectuate that goal.
Is it not the end goal that within the next 6-12 months Brad is enjoying frequent and continuous contact with all of the children on a joint custodial basis?
And only TMZ referred to Wasser's proposal for joint therapy.
They've apparently obtained the cooperation of all the major sites who have carefully danced around the info revealed in Wasser's email. The sites would have been easy to convince since it is the minor children's healing and well being at stake and they've likely been promised details of the BIG story when they're ready.
Brad may have been preparing to legally challenge the DCFS right after Angelina's dissolution filing. A proposed Stipulation and Order to Seal was sent to Laura Wasser for them to consider on Sept. 26 -- exactly a week after she filed.
Recall that around Oct 5, a "Pitt source" said Brad "has been absolutely devastated and heartbroken by the events of the past several weeks, both in terms of how those events have been wrongfully portrayed and how they have threatened to jeopardize his family’s ability to heal and move forward.”
The most notable portion in the proposed stipulation is that he was seeking to seal all documents pertaining to the "mental and physical health of either party or the parties and any and all of their minor children;" This is, of course, the part that would serve to protect him. He may have planned to ask the court to overturn the DCFS' safety plan and protective order that were preventing him from having any contact with his family including Angelina. He wanted a seal order in place so the DCFS' reply justifying their actions with potentially damaging info would not be made public. The judge would have likely denied that planned broad request to seal for the same reason it denied his recent one.
His latest request to seal was in preparation for their plan to file a RFO. Spiegel wrote in his Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of the ex parte request to seal, The ex parte relief is necessary to assure the RFO will be sealed to preserve the children's privacy rights. But as with the DCFS, it is actually Wasser's arguments in opposition to their RFO that they want to keep from public view.
In his Nov. 17 email to Wasser, Spiegel wrote, 4. You have requested additional time to consider and respond to whether or not your client will stipulate to seal the custody pleadings.
In her reply on Nov. 18, Wasser wrote: With regard to an agreement that we request that the Court seal the custody pleadings, please specify what custody pleadings you intend to file. To my knowledge, we are currently operating under the terms of he Stipulation and following the Nov. 9, 2016 recommendations. Nothing further should be filed until next February at the earliest. It is my hope that we will be able to resolve custody issues in this case without the need for litigation. During our discussions, you have indicated that you agree. Continued rhetoric regarding a stipulation to seal pleadings we hope not to file seems counter intuitive.
And in her Dec. 1 email Wasser wrote: Angie's reluctance to enter into a stipulation to seal the file stems from her firm belief that litigation is the wrong decision.
Wasser and Angelina may have declined to support his earlier move to seal for the same reason.
The DCFS has broad legal powers and given that there were reasons behind its actions, any legal challenge from Brad would have been doomed to fail. It would have been just like his recent request to seal and his planned RFO against the SFO, ill-advised and quixotic.
We already know that key portions of Spiegel's "ex-parte motion for order to seal or in the alternative to shorten time for hearing" were all denied. The judge ruled there was no emergency requiring ex parte relief, the proposed broad sealing order fails to meet the requirements of the California Rule of Court 2.550, and the time for hearing wasn't shortened as it was scheduled for January 17 -- even beyond the "16 court days notice in order to investigate and understand Respondent's contentions and to put forth her own case" that Wasser's colleague had asked for. And too late to help Brad get the additional visits over the Holidays that he wanted.
Recall that the S&O states:
Brad (respondent) shall continue to have agreed upon therapeutic visitation. The frequency and conditions of the visits are determined by Ian Russ, Phd. Prior to making such determination, Dr. Russ shall consult with Lisa Hacker, Judy Goldman, Angela Bissada and Catherine Green. Dr. Russ shall at all times consider the best interests of the minor children.Brad and Spiegel signed the S&O thereby legally binding themselves to abide by all the terms. When it was filed in court and signed by the judge it became mandatory and enforceable by the court. It is very clear that what he and Spiegel are attempting to do -- increase the frequency of his visits and add non-therapeutic visits against the therapists recommendations -- violates the terms of the S&O. The court will now enforce the S&O and compel them to comply with all the terms.
There is no chance that the court will grant his RFO for additional visits given the above, and there is also no chance that the court will grant their request to seal a document that hasn't yet been filed -- Wasser's anticipated response to their RFO -- especially when the judge has already given signs that he is skeptical of their arguments.
TMZ reported, "We're told Angelina also wants the whole case to remain private -- as long as Brad sticks to the custody arrangement they both signed off on months ago." The RFO that Brad wanted to file goes against the custody agreement, so if he and Brad persist, Wasser will continue to oppose his request and will also oppose the RFO itself. But in view of the overwhelming odds they face and the fact that the Holidays will be over, I really don't see why Spiegel and Brad would persist.
Brad's motivation seems to be that he did not want a repeat of Thanksgiving. He wanted to see at least part of his family over the Holidays. After the therapists informed Spiegel that they would not recommend non-therapeutic visits at this time he stubbornly insisted on filing.
He realized quite late that the only path to achieving both his long term goal of reuniting with the family and his short term goals for the Holidays is through the family's therapy sessions.
And in fact, in the latest Us report, a "Pitt Source" said, "Brad is going along with the agreement because he is trying to demonstrate that he is amenable and taking things seriously."
The far humbler and much more agreeable tone of Brad's rep and "friends" was brought about by the combination of his thorough court defeat and the progress he has made in family therapy sessions. There is no longer any hint of dissatisfaction with the process. They are now acquiescent, almost meek. I had written before that since Angelina and Brad don't discuss anything involving the therapists directly, he used his rep and friends as a way of communicating his frustrations to her. Their public utterances now must mirror his chastened behavior in private. She was right and he should have just listened to her.
The same Us story adds that according to a "Jolie friend," Angelina "remains fond of his mom and dad, Jane and William" and that "Pitt and his Springfield, Missouri-based folks" or "Brad's family" will "spend time with them in L.A." over the Holidays. If his parents spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with them, then Brad should as well.
After Thanksgiving, her rep explained, "Angie also hasn’t been the one to keep Brad from seeing the kids. It hasn’t been her choice. She has been following the advice of the therapists.” Now that Angelina is able to observe Brad's interactions with the children in their family therapy sessions, she can have an informed opinion on whether and when they are ready to spend more time with him. She can confer with the therapists, but she won't need to rely entirely on them. She is now able to make the call on when Brad joins them outside of therapy based on her observations and her conversations with the children. This was what Brad had been pressing her to do but only now has she had a firm basis on which to act. And she has apparently made the call that Brad will join them for Christmas. She knows his parents -- and possibly his siblings and their families -- will be on hand to help reassure the children.
They've achieved their short-term objective when they started family therapy in earnest early this month. They have time for a few more family therapy sessions to make sure the children, esp. the two older boys, feel safe, secure and relaxed in their father's company so they would be fine celebrating Christmas with him.
It's is likely that Brad can now join them for all future family celebrations as well. The next one after the Holidays is Zahara's birthday in early January. I can't imagine that she won't ask him to join them for her birthday.
Wasser indicated that the therapists had already drawn up the visit schedule through January. She said Brad's visits can change at any time depending on the therapists' evaluation of each individual child's feelings and progress. It looks like Brad's visits could be changing soon.
If the Holidays go well, he should be able to have unsupervised visits with the younger four and supervised visits with the two older boys in January.
When Brad makes sufficient progress, they could petition the court to modify, change, or set aside the S&O.
Things are obviously looking much brighter for them given how much progress they've made in a short period of time. They may be looking at the shorter end of their 6 to 12 month reunification timetable. If the countdown started when they signed the agreement in October, 6 months would end in April.
anonymous and Macy (Thanks!) share the following tweet.
We're on the #PittCrew! Our work w/ #MercyKids wouldn't be the same w/o support from our community. Jane Pitt (Brad & Doug's mom) agrees! pic.twitter.com/SgzoYg0AAm— Mercy Springfield (@MercySGF) December 15, 2016
From: Hyunu Lee
To: Laura Wasser
Sent: Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 12:21PM
Cc: Gary Fishbein, Azita Mosbat, Lance Spiegel, Alicia Thomas
Subject: Marriage of Pitt
Attachments: Prop Stip Order (Seal) 092616.pdf
Per your conversation with Lance this morning, I'm enclosing a proposed Stipulation
Young, Spiegel & Lee, LLP
301 North Canon Drive
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Stipulation and Order to Seal Records Regarding Custody Issues
9. In accordance with the provisions of California Rules of Court 2.550 et seq., the following portions of the file Marriage of Pitt, Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BD646 058, are ordered sealed and shall not be disseminated, disclosed, published in any way, or the substance thereof otherwise communicated in any manner other than the Court herein, the parties, the parties' respective counsel of record, and the parties' respective experts or the Court's appointed experts, whether through informal discovery, formal discovery, and whether produced by the parties or any third party:
a. Records relating to all child custody issues and orders, including, without limitation, records relating to the mental and physical health of either party or the parties and any and all of heir minor children;
b. The identity of the parties' minor children, their location, including without limitation, their places of residence, school and other activities; and
c. The location of the parties, including, without limitation, their places of residence.
10. Only those documents and pages or, if reasonably practicable, portions of those documents and pages that contain material relating to child custody issues shall be placed under seal. All other portions of each document or page shall be included in the public file.