Brad Pitt awarded joint custody of children with Angelina Jolie

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Angelina Jolie and Brad PittImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in 2016

Brad Pitt has been granted joint custody of his children with Angelina Jolie following a lengthy court battle.

Ms Jolie filed for divorce in 2016 and the pair have since been engaged in a custody battle largely shielded from public view.

A private judge hired to oversee the case, John Ouderkirk, ruled in Mr Pitt's favour.

The ruling would "significantly increase" his time with the children, a source told the Press Association.

Mr Pitt, 57, and Ms Jolie, 45, are parents to Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14 and 12-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.

The oldest, 19-year-old Maddox, is not subject to the custody decision.

The ruling was a "tentative decision" and Ms Jolie is continuing her legal fight, a source told the Page Six website.

Ms Jolie had not objected to joint custody but there were "other issues of concern", it reported.

The trial lasted for several months and there were a large number of witnesses, experts and therapists, another source said.

Ms Jolie has criticised the judge's decision not to allow their children to testify in custody hearings.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Brad and Angelina pictured with their children in November 2011

Ms Jolie cited "irreconcilable differences" when she filed to end the marriage, and the pair became embroiled in a bitter child custody battle in the months following the announcement.

Mr Pitt was investigated for possible child abuse after losing his temper in front of some of the children, but was later cleared of the allegations.

The couple were known as "Brangelina" by fans and met on the set of the 2005 film Mr and Mrs Smith.

The marriage was Mr Pitt's second - he had previously wed Friends star Jennifer Aniston - and Ms Jolie's third after actors Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.

Media caption,

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt through the years

Speaking to Vogue last year, Ms Jolie said she left Mr Pitt for the "wellbeing" of her family.

"It was the right decision," Ms Jolie said. "I continue to focus on their healing."

Speaking to GQ in 2017, Mr Pitt spoke about his decision to quit drinking and smoking marijuana.

"For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy," he said.