Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s bitter divorce battle is on course to become Hollywood’s costliest ever in legal fees alone – and could still rumble on for another six years, according to legal experts.
The couple have been locked in a courtroom showdown since Angie, 45, filed for divorce from Brad, 57, in September, 2016 citing irreconcilable differences.
Legal experts in Los Angeles say each have each spent over $1million in legal costs already – and say the custody battle could go on for six more years.
The parents-of-six still have not reached a settlement on how to split their multi-million dollar fortunes or the custody of their five underage kids.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been locked in a courtroom showdown since Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016 citing irreconcilable differences.
Brad is striving for 50/50 custody over their six children and Angie wants to retain full physical custody. A legal expert said, ‘Angelina seems to think she can get sole custody of the kids, but that is just not the case.’ Pictured in 2019
Angie recently sold a painting by Winston Churchill that Brad is believed to have gifted her.
Rumors quickly spread that she offloaded the artwork – which sold at auction in London for a record $11.5million earlier this month – to shore up her legal war chest for the battle ahead with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Brad.
LA divorce attorney Kelly Chang Rickert said: ‘I think this could become one of the most expensive divorce cases in Hollywood history in terms of legal fees’
LA divorce attorney Kelly Chang Rickert said: ‘I think this could become one of the most expensive divorce cases in Hollywood history in terms of legal fees.
‘It has been going on for over four years now so it’s definitely one of the longest celebrity cases we’ve ever seen.
‘I believe Angelina and Brad have already spent over $1million each.
‘They are both employing very reputable attorneys and Angelina has already gone through several.
‘Hourly rates may range from between $1,000 to $1,500 and I would estimate that these lawyers may be billing 40 or 50 hours a week at times.
‘They have also hired a private judge who probably bills around $900 to $1,000 an hour, so he is probably costing $10,000 a day.
‘If they used him for a five-day trial, he would probably take $50,000 up front and another $10,000 to review paperwork beforehand.
‘I would say they’ve paid the judge himself probably close to half a million dollars between them,’ she added.
‘When Angelina recently sold the painting at auction, people asked if that meant they are close to settling.
‘I actually think she sold it to pay more attorney’s fees, that’s just my pessimistic divorce lawyer point of view,’ Rickert said. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised that that’s what it’s for, but it could be for other things too.
‘Angelina seems to think she can get sole custody of the kids, but that is just not the case.
‘She can keep paying millions and millions and millions but as long as Brad wants custody and fights for it, she’s going to have to share.
One of the main assets at stake in the acrimonious divorce case is the former couple’s Chateau Miraval vineyard and castle in Correns, France. Brad and Angelina bought the property for $67 million in 2008 and married there in August 2014.
The Eternals star Angelina recently sold a painting by Winston Churchill that Brad is believed to have gifted her. Rumors quickly spread that she offloaded the artwork – which sold at auction in London for a record $11.5million earlier this month – to shore up her legal war chest for the battle ahead with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Brad
‘Their youngest kids, twins Knox and Vivienne, are 12 so this could go on another six years until they reach the age of majority at 18.
‘I’ve definitely had cases go on and on and on until the kids are adults.
‘Very nasty ones keep going and Angelina changing attorneys is an indication that she needs to get her own way and isn’t willing to give up. It’s almost worse when people have the money because they’ll just keep fighting.
‘Other people run out of money but Angelina has the means to keep paying for lawyers.’
Another factor that is setting the ex-couple – formerly known as Brangelina – back to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars is expert witness fees.
In August last year, Brad’s lawyers presented a list of 21 witnesses he expected to call for a child custody trial – including several mental health experts.
Meanwhile, Angie presented a list with seven names, of which five were expert witnesses.
Asked about the cost of these experts, family lawyer Joe Spirito said: ‘It depends on the type of expert but for mental health experts or accountants, I would expect them to be getting around $500 an hour.
‘When you have experts that are in the mental health profession to evaluate custody it can cost $100,000 for the work done by one expert alone.
‘In this case there are several children and the marriage lasted several years so I wouldn’t be surprised if in total legal fees were in excess of $1 million.’
The couple’s youngest kids, twins Knox and Vivienne (pictured), are 12 so the custody battle could go on another six years until they reach the age of majority at 18
One of the main assets at stake in the acrimonious divorce case is the former couple’s Chateau Miraval vineyard and castle in Correns, France.
Brad and Angie bought the property for $67million in 2008 and married there in August 2014.
Mr Spirito said: ‘In California we are a community property state, which means the presumption is if you acquire property after you’re married, that is community property.
‘If one party alleges they bought the property prior to marriage and then put their spouse on the title, they might have a reimbursement claim for the amount of money that they put in that was separate.
‘It can become very convoluted and people hire accountants to try to trace the money and see what’s community and what’s separate.
‘Due to the fact that it’s out of the country, California may not have jurisdiction over the estate but funds in California could be used to offset the asset in France.’