Press Releases

Jolie-Pitt Parenting Arrangement in Line with Child Development Research

National Parents Organization
Press Release 

May 11, 2017

Contact: Nancy Rigdon,

Jolie-Pitt Parenting Arrangement in Line with Child Development Research
National Parents Organization Supports Shared Parenting

BOSTON – The National Parents Organization applauds actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for recognizing that shared parenting is best for their children, as that’s what research has proven is best for kids.

In a recent interview with GQ, Pitt said he and Jolie have agreed to “work together” on shared custody of their six children because it’s “very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.”

Scientific evidence agrees. Over 50 peer-reviewed studies indicate that shared parenting — where children spend as much time as possible with each parent — following divorce or separation better serves children. Here are just a couple of examples of the growing consensus supporting shared parenting:

·         In a 150,000-person study published in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, researchers concluded that shared parenting is in the best interest of children’s health because the arrangement lowers their stress levels.

·         32 family law experts in the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts concluded, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive and that also avoid a template calling for a specific division of time imposed on all families.”

“It’s refreshing to see two high-powered celebrities resolving to put their differences on the shelf and do what is best for their children. It didn’t start well, with Angelina making charges of abusive fathering that didn’t hold up. Now we can hope that Brad and Angelina are recognizing what research confirms: that children desperately need and want the continued love and care of not just one, but both, of their parents,” said Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization.

Despite the research, the sole custody tradition persists in our nation’s family courts more than 80 percent of the time, according to Census data.

“The family court default setting of winner-take-all-battles is devastating for families. We must change our broken family courts to encourage parents to work together instead of encouraging a devastating custody battle from which only the lawyers profit, ” Holstein said.

Pitt agrees that the system is in need of repair. In the GQ article, Pitt said:I heard one lawyer say, ‘No one wins in court — it’s just a matter of who gets hurt worse.’ And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you’re right and why they’re wrong, and it’s just an investment in vitriolic hatred. I just refuse. And fortunately my partner in this agrees.”

While shared parenting remains unusual, lawmakers nationwide are considering legislation that works to turn the custody arrangement from the exception to the norm. About 25 states have proposed laws in recent years to implement it, according to The Wall Street Journal. In just the last six months, for example, National Parents Organization played key roles in Missouri, which  enacted a shared parenting bill, and in Kentucky, where the legislature unanimously passed a bill mandating shared parenting in temporary orders.


Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.

A regular contributor to local and national media, Dr. Holstein is Founder and Chair of the Board of National Parents Organization. Dr. Holstein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Working Group on Child-Centered Family Law, and he was previously appointed by a Massachusetts Chief Justice to a task force charged with reviewing and revising the state’s child support guidelines.

A graduate of Harvard College, Holstein also earned a Master’s degree in psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His medical degree is from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he later served on the faculty as a teacher and researcher. 


National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. In 2014, National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws. Visit the National Parents Organization website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *