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Angelina Jolie asks for sole child custody in divorce

Oklahoma residents may have heard about Angelina Jolie's decision to petition for full physical custody of the six children that she has with her estranged husband Brad Pitt. Asking for full child custody was more common in the past, but these days, divorced parents are more likely to work out joint custody agreements.

Jolie's attorney has reportedly argued that a child custody arrangement in which Pitt only has visitation rights is what is needed for the health of the family. However, numerous studies have shown that children of divorced parents have fewer mental and physical problems if they are allowed to maintain strong relationships with both of their parents. When a father only spends time with his children during visitation, he may become less of an authority figure to his children and take on a role that is more like an uncle than a father.

Several states have passed shared parenting laws in recent years, but California, where Jolie and Pitt reside, is not one of them. When two parents divorce in California, the court only favors a shared parenting arrangement if both parents want equal custody. In some other states, family courts default to joint physical custody arrangements unless there are reasons to deny one parent custody rights.

It may be more difficult for a parent to argue for shared child custody if the other parent is not in favor of that arrangement. An attorney might represent a divorcing parent in child custody hearings and argue that shared custody is in the best interests of the children.

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