In her email on Nov. 18 Wasser wrote: " I think that in order to be good liaisons between our clients and the mental health professionals, it is important we hear what they have to say firsthand and at the same time."
On Dec. 1, Wasser wrote:
"We have discussed a custody evaluation in this matter. As we advised yesterday, we are agreeable and would like it to commence immediately. We propose that Dr. Lulow be appointed. Is Brad agreeable? You have told us that you will not agree to the appointment of minor's counsel. We feel it is essential that the children have advocates who can communicate with the evaluator or the judge on their behalf. Will you reconsider?"On Dec. 2, Wasser followed up: "We believe it is prudent to commence a child custody evaluation and to appoint minors' counsel."
It was only after the children bonded again with him that Brad agreed to appoint minor's counsel. Angelina lodged a Request for Order to appoint minor's counsel on Jan 9 and also filed a redacted Memorandum in reply to her RFO. The redacted Memorandum was only available to the public yesterday although it was filed directly with the court and not with the judge.
The minor's counsel would have spent the past few days meeting with the children and possibly consulting with the therapists and the custody evaluator.
The therapists' recommendations are key. As a practical matter, Angelina and the children can move back in with Brad as soon as the therapists determine that all the children are ready. They are likely already back home. As noted previously, they would not talk publicly about reunification if it was still a goal instead of a reality. But the legal process to make it official is more involved.
When they filed the Custody Stipulation in court, it was made into a court order and became mandatory and enforceable by the court. Theoretically, Brad could still be compelled to abide by all the provisions including being limited to therapeutic visits because that is what is laid out in the Custody Stipulation. Of course, no one is going to ask the court to enforce the stipulation now and the fact that they engaged a private judge meant enforcement was no longer an issue.
Wasser's declaration in response to Brad's ex parte motion last year stated:
"The Custody Stipulation memorializes the custody and visitation arrangement set forth above and incorporates recommendations made by DCFS. I have not attached copies of documents our office received from DCFS in order to protect the minor children's privacy and to comply with confidentiality statutes."She lodged the DCFS' documents under seal. To support their request to set aside the Custody Stipulation, they would have to provide equally convincing proof that the stipulation is no longer needed.
If they had not engaged Judge Ouderkirk and made the proceedings private, they would have had to wait until Jan.17 to learn the judge's decision on the RFO to seal. It was far from certain that the judge would grant the RFO and I had my doubts that he would based on his earlier ruling. Wasser's email last year:
"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."Brad's purpose at the time was to keep the public from learning about the findings of the DCFS investigation that would be used to oppose his requests to override the therapists. Brad is no longer at odds with the therapists. The therapeutic process has achieved its objectives and the family is united once more.
"Angie's reluctance to enter into a stipulation to seal the file stems from her firm belief that litigation is the wrong decision."
The minor's counsel's declaration informing the court about the children's desire and readiness to live with their father will be lodged with the court. It would be accompanied by declarations from the therapists. These filings will include details about the children's trauma and recovery. While there will be info on Brad's behavior that caused the trauma, the focus will be on the children and the evaluations and conclusions that support setting aside the Custody Stipulation. This is the info that they both want to keep confidential. The private forum means very little of what transpires will be known by the public.
They are now in full agreement and acting as a couple. Judge Ouderkirk can grant their requests immediately and they could wrap this up with plenty of time to prepare for First They Killed My Father's Feb 18 premiere.
They weren't kidding about keeping details of the Jolie-Pitt divorce confidential. This is a document released today... pic.twitter.com/ywux5jGBWq— Anthony McCartney (@mccartneyAP) January 13, 2017