Is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's divorce Hollywood's costliest? Couple spent $1 million each, says expert

Pitt and Jolie have reportedly not reached a settlement on how to split their multi-million-dollar fortunes or the custody of their five underage kids


                            Is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's divorce Hollywood's costliest? Couple spent $1 million each, says expert
Angelina Jolie for divorce from Brad Pitt in September 2016, citing irreconcilable differences (Getty Images)

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce proceedings continue and are set to become Hollywood's costliest ever in legal fees alone according to media reports. Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016 citing irreconcilable differences and the two actors have since been locked in a courtroom battle. Pitt and Jolie have reportedly not settled on how to split their multi-million-dollar fortunes or the custody of their five underage kids.

According to The Daily Mail, Los Angeles-based legal experts believe that each party has spent over $1 million in legal costs already and that the custody battle — with Pitt striving for shared custody — could go on for six more years until the couple's youngest children, twins Knox and Vivienne, reach the age of majority at 18 years old.

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Los Angeles divorce attorney Kelly Chang Rickert told the Daily Mail, "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 $1 million each."

Brad Pitt and actress Angelina Jolie with Jolie's children Zahara Marley Jolie and Maddox Jolie at the New Tokyo International Airport on November 27, 2005, in Narita, Japan (Getty Images)

 

Rickert broke down the legal cost estimation, saying, "They are both employing very reputable attorneys and Angelina has already gone through several. Hourly rates may range from between $1,000 and $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."

She continued, "If they used him for a five-day trial, he would probably take $50,000 upfront 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."

Rickert also believes that Jolie's sale of her Winston Churchill painting from earlier this year for $11.5 million could have been to pay her attorneys. Rickert said, "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. I wouldn't be surprised that that's what it's for, but it could be for other things too."

Rickert also weighed in on the couple's custody battle, saying, "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."

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their children Pax Thien, Knox, Zahara, and Shiloh on January 27, 2009, in Narita, Chiba, Japan (Getty Images)

 

She continued, "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."

Rickert also noted, "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 legal expert, family lawyer Joe Spirito believes that Pitt's list of 21 witnesses his lawyers are expected to call during a child custody trial, including several mental health experts, would be costing money as well. Jolie's legal team presented a list with seven witnesses, included five expert witnesses.

Spirito said about the cost of the experts, "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."