Actor discusses the aftermath of child abuse allegations

Family matters can be very complicated, even for the rich and famous. Actor Brad Pitt recently opened up on how his own life and his family life was affected by an anonymous tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleging he'd been physically abusive to his son.

In the wake of the allegations, the actor, and his wife, actress Angelina Jolie, filed for divorce -- shattering the image that many people had of their marriage.

The actor admits that he wasn't a perfect husband, father or role-model, by any means. He was very frank about the fact that he had heavily abused alcohol and could be obsessive about perceived slights. He seemingly accepts much of the blame for his failed marriage.

His focus now, however, is on his children's welfare and recovery. The experiences his family had after the abuse allegations were leveled against him were not unlike what would happen to any other family in their situation: They lost control of their family unit and found themselves at the mercy of the system used by Child Protective Services (CPS).

Once suspected child abuse is reported in California, both the police and CPS conduct separate investigations. It isn't unusual for the focus of the investigation -- whether it is one parent or both -- to suddenly be separated from the children and restricted to supervised visitation until the investigations are resolved. If there seems to be a serious danger to the children or both parents are involved in the abuse allegations, the children may be put into protective custody for up to 72 hours, not including weekends and holidays.

The actor seems to have his focus squarely where it needs to be at this time -- on his children. While he was eventually cleared of the abuse allegations, his entire family endured a rough time. He and his wife are focusing on explaining to the children why their lives have been disrupted and working out a visitation schedule.

This case serves as a very visible reminder that it is always better for a family unit to be self-directed, rather than controlled by the court. If an abuse allegation is unfounded, it causes unnecessary hardship for both parents and the children.

For advice on your own custody issues or divorce, contact an attorney.

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