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Biggest celeb split in years highlights important custody issue

When you filed for divorce, you probably never thought you could look to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for some guidance. But you can if you have kids and are divorcing.

While "Brangelina's" children might live somewhat different realities than your kids, the matter of divorce in their lives means that child custody decisions need to be made, just as those decisions must be made for your kids. In the high-profile case, one parent is fighting for sole custody.

How does the celeb family's situation match up with your family law requests?

Are you fighting for sole custody of your children? That means that you want the children to live with you all of the time, perhaps with some regular visitation appointments between the other parent and the kids.

If this sounds like your situation, then you have something in common with Hollywood's now former power couple. Jolie claims that her having sole custody of the kids is best for their well-being. She doesn't think they should ever live with Pitt and instead, they should only have occasional visits with their dad.

Depending on the state where a family lives, courts might view the request for sole custody as extreme, even bad for the kids. Of course, this depends on the unique family circumstance. If there is abuse, drug use or addiction involved, for example, a Kansas court wouldn't be supportive of a shared parenting setup.

When there is no extreme negative issue with a parent, more courts than in the past are beginning to favor shared parenting arrangements. This most commonly would impact the chance of a father to be an equal part in his children's life.

Could this family law trend help Pitt? We shall see. It depends on Jolie's claims regarding his parenting and whether a court believes depriving him of custody would benefit the kids.

Could this family law trend impact you and your divorce? Certainly. But again, a court's decision about a child custody arrangement will depend on the specific family and parents. If you believe that your ex is dangerous to the well-being of your children, find a divorce lawyer who will protect your kids' best interests.

On the other hand, if you believe that your ex's fight to deprive you of custody is a threat to the overall well-being and development of your kids, find a lawyer who will protect your rights as a parent. Shared parenting can work, and studies show that it truly can be what is best for the kids.

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