Pitt 'hasn't answered divorce petition'

LOS ANGELES • Actor Brad Pitt has missed the deadline to respond to actress Angelina Jolie's divorce petition, seeking to avoid an acrimonious legal battle that could harm their six children, the media reported.

Although the cut-off date was last Wednesday, Pitt, 52, will not file an official reply until the estranged couple's lawyers have reached an agreement over custody, celebrity gossip websites Us Weekly and TMZ reported last Friday.

He is looking to get joint legal and physical custody, according to TMZ. Jolie, 41, filed for divorce on Sept 19, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking sole permanent custody.

Earlier last week, Pitt met his oldest child, Maddox, 15, for the first time since an alleged incident involving the pair on a private plane carrying the family back from vacation in France on Sept 14.

The FBI has said it is gathering information before deciding whether to launch a federal probe into the allegations. It has not offered details on what is said to have happened, but several media outlets reported that Pitt had been involved in an angry outburst with at least one of his children.

He reportedly visited his other five children on Oct 8, but Maddox refused to see his father then.

Ms Emily Pollock, a partner in New York law firm Kasowitz, said further time with Maddox would depend on the severity of the allegations and his interest in such visits.

Pitt's reunions with his children were both supervised by a therapist as part of the couple's temporary custody agreement - mediated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services - which expired last Thursday.

Under the agreement, Jolie had physical custody of the children at a rented Los Angeles house.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Pitt 'hasn't answered divorce petition''. Print Edition | Subscribe