What now for Brangelina fam­ily…

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Di­vorce doesn’t have to be ‘bad’, say ex­perts

An­gelina Jolie Pitt’s de­ci­sion to file for di­vorce from Brad Pitt may have come as a huge sur­prise. But with six chil­dren to con­sider, the is­sue must have been given a lot of thought.

Dr Roghy McCarthy is a Dubai-based clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist who of­fers coun­selling to cou­ples and fam­i­lies. Although ‘Brangelina’ are a special case, the A-list cou­ple will es­sen­tially be no dif­fer­ent from other fam­i­lies who have reached the end of the line.

The Pitt-Jolies have six chil­dren, 15-year-old Mad­dox, 12-year-old Pax, 11-year-old Za­hara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivi­enne.

Jolie is be­lieved to be seek­ing cus­tody, while ask­ing the judge to give Pitt, 52, vis­i­ta­tion rights.

Dr McCarthy said: “I am sure they thought about the chil­dren be­fore de­cid­ing on di­vorce be­cause quite sim­ply, this is a unit the chil­dren be­long to. Now the unit is go­ing to sep­a­rate and it is very dif­fi­cult for chil­dren to ad­just to.”

The Hol­ly­wood A-list cou­ple had been to­gether for 12 years af­ter meet­ing on the set of 2005 movie Mr & Mrs Smith.

Both have al­ready made men­tion of the chil­dren. The Big Short star Pitt re­leased a state­ment to CNN which said: “I am very sad­dened by this, but what mat­ters most now is the well­be­ing of our kids.”

Jolie, 41, re­leased a state­ment that said: “An­gelina will al­ways do what’s in the best in­ter­est to pro­tect her chil­dren. She ap­pre­ci­ates ev­ery­one’s un­der­stand­ing of their need for pri­vacy at this time.”

A lawyer has said that Jolie’s de­ci­sion was made for the ‘health of her fam­ily’ and Dr Roghy said: “Believe me, no­body wants to break a fam­ily. They will try just for the sake of fam­ily to keep the mar­riage. But if it doesn’t work and the mar­riage is so poi­sonous that it can dam­age the kids, this is the last op­tion. “Nor­mally when peo­ple have made their de­ci­sion to sep­a­rate, they do it be­cause stay­ing with each other is dam­ag­ing the chil­dren more.” Dr Sheetal Kini, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist at Light­House Ara­bia, agrees. She said: “Some­times cou­ples de­cide to stick to­gether be­cause of the stigma of di­vorce – they think be­ing to­gether is bet­ter than a bro­ken home. But re­search sug­gests the op­po­site. Look­ing at a high con­flict en­vi­ron­ment, chil­dren have fared much bet­ter go­ing through a ‘good’ di­vorce. Di­vorce it­self is not a de­struc­tive thing, it can be healthy for the fam­ily.” This will be Pitt’s sec­ond di­vorce – he split from Jen­nifer Anis­ton in 2005 – while Jolie was pre­vi­ously mar­ried to Billy Bob Thorn­ton and Jonny Lee Miller. They may not be able to live to­gether – Jolie cited ‘ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences’ when she filed on Mon­day. But for the sake of the kids, Dr Roghy urges them to try to func­tion as par­ents. She says: “If you can­not func­tion as a cou­ple, at least try to func­tion har­mo­niously as par­ents. Chil­dren don’t want con­flict and they want these two peo­ple to func­tion as par­ents. Cou­ples must try to keep their per­sonal fight away from them and func­tion prop­erly as a good par­ent.” Dr Sheetal adds: “The par­ents will al­ways be fam­ily – they will al­ways have the chil­dren in com­mon. “Peo­ple are ex­pected to have a bad di­vorce and it’s a bad word. But it is pos­si­ble to make it grace­ful and kind and gen­er­ous and lov­ing. Chil­dren can feel it, and they know the dif­fer­ence.” ‘Cou­ples must try to keep their per­sonal fights away and func­tion as good par­ents.’ – Dr Roghy McCarthy

STICK­ING TO­GETHER: Brad and An­gelina have six chil­dren to think about

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