When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie made the painful decision to end their marriage back in 2016, many people’s thoughts turned straight to the couple’s six children. And now, two years later, these children remain everyone’s main concern, with a judge ordering new restrictions within the ongoing custody battle.
According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the judge in the widely publicized case has now stated that “it is critical that each of [the six] children have a healthy and strong relationship with their father and mother,” somewhat implying that Jolie has not been doing that as of late. The documents imply that Jolie has been interfering with her kids’ relationship with their father— and if she weren’t to try and help the kids improve their relationship with their father, she could potentially lose primary custody.
“It looks like what this judge was weighing was the difference between estrangement and alienation,” says family law attorney David Glass, who is not associated with Pitt and Jolie’s case. “The difference there is, estrangement is when children aren’t connected to one of the parents, mainly because of something that parent did. An alienation refers to where children have been told by the other parent that the parent they’re not seeing is bad, or doesn’t like them, or doesn’t care about them.”
The judge has given formal instruction to the couple to ensure that both of them have a beneficial relationship with the children, according to PEOPLE. For now, the kids are seeing a therapist with their dad. “That’s the first good news, that the kids are in therapy and that dad is somehow involved in the therapy,” Glass said. “That’s where the kids can work out whatever issues they have. It’s that continuing contact with dad … all those little pieces that eventually lead to some sort of reunification with their dad.”