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The Jolie-Pitt Divorce Filing Raises Legal Questions

It's new, but no longer news: Late last week, Angeline Jolie made it known she'd filed for divorce from her husband, Brad Pitt. The internet is rife with details, ranging from the lurid to the legal.

What has come as a surprise are Jolie's demands - or lack thereof. Multiple reports note that she is asking for neither child support nor spousal support, despite her intentions of retaining full physical custody of the couple's six children. (Pitt, allegedly, will challenge her.)

In relative terms, Jolie is asking for little. The question remains - will she get it?

The Problems Inherent In High-Asset Divorce--And How Brad And Angelina Are Avoiding Them

Wealthy couples face special problems when entering divorce proceedings. In many cases they hold complex assets - jointly owned businesses, offshore accounts, retirement funds - that are difficult to divide in an equitable manner. Forensic accountants and other experts must get involved. When feelings of ill-will enter the process, matters become more complicated still. Spouses routinely hire legal proxies to wage financial war.

Pitt and Jolie reportedly had a combined wealth of $400 million, including 12 properties in locales around the world. But the couple protected themselves from a long, expensive dispute by means of a prenuptial agreement. According to the Huffington Post, they had a contract in place that established explicit orders for how their holdings were to be divided.

Unfortunately, no such understanding had been reached with regard to their children.

Is Custody Different In High-Asset Divorce?

Allegations of child abuse have begun to surface around Brad Pitt. In the press, he has been charged with verbally and physically assaulting his children, and struggling with substance abuse. If true, such claims could jeopardize his ability to retain joint physical custody - judges would be likely to see his influence as not being in the children's best interest.

Yet experts note the allegations are unverified, and that "it's unlikely that the child abuse claims will be pursued."

How the custody battle will play out remains, of course, to be seen. For now, Jolie has sequestered herself and her children in a rented Malibu mansion. And both the internet and legal experts are watching the matter intently.

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