Why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's New Custody Agreement Is a 'Breakthrough' for Them (Exclusive)

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A source tells ET that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's new temporary custody agreement handed down by the court is actually a positive step when it comes to their future interactions with one another.

According to court documents obtained by ET, Jolie was ordered by a judge to help repair her children's relationship with Pitt. A judge determined that the kids "not having a relationship with their father is harmful to them," and the 54-year-old actor will now have more time with his minor children -- 14-year-old Pax, 13-year-old Zahara, 12-year-old Shiloh and 9-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne -- over the summer.

The source says the new agreement is a "breakthrough" for Jolie and Pitt, explaining that the two have had little communication with one another leading up to it.

"Angelina and Brad have had to come to terms with the fact that their marriage didn’t work and have had to attempt to let their anger go for the sake of the kids," the source says. "The new custody plans have had a positive effect on how Angelina sees this situation. She loves the kids and she doesn’t want to lose them, so she seems to have started communicating with Brad to make things run smoothly. It's actually a breakthrough after having little to no communication for so long."

"For Brad, it is a relief to have these very set plans in place," the source adds. "He now knows he will get the time he needs to bond with his kids. Brad truly wants what’s best for the kids and he knows if they get along and work it out it will be much better for them in the long run."

The source says that the exes have continued to struggle with their original custody agreement in December 2016, which granted Jolie physical custody of all six children. 

"Brad and Angelina have had a very difficult time co-parenting because the end of their marriage was so turbulent," the source says. "They both were incredibly angry with one another and often had to seek therapy to even make visitation plans. While they both love their children dearly, it hasn't been easy. Of course Angelina and Brad both want to be part of their children's lives, but it seems like Angelina hasn't been ready to let go and have the kids spend any real extended time with Brad."

According to the source, Pitt was also distressed over the time he did get to spend with his kids.

"Brad has felt very hurt because he wasn't able to take enough time with the kids to bond without Angelina being somehow involved," the source says. "Angelina was given primary custody while Brad worked through his troubles. He has been very open about his battle with alcohol and has worked hard and turned his life around. He is clean and sober and wants nothing more than to be the best father he can be."

A second source tells ET that Pitt is definitely happy with the new summer custody agreement. 

“He is satisfied with the court’s decision because he has always wanted to do right by his children,” the source explains. “Co-parenting has and will always be his No. 1 priority.”

The source also notes that Jolie and Pitt's interactions with one another since their 2016 split haven't always been negative. According to the source, there have been multiple times that the family has spent time together out of the public eye.

“There haven’t been a lot, but they’ve all spent time together for special occasions as an entire family in intimate settings where everyone has gotten along, including Brad and Angelina,” the source says. 

“[Brad] is very attentive with them," the source continues of the actor's relationship with his children, adding that when Pitt does have the kids with him, bodyguards and nannies are always close by. "He has always been this way. Brad is very grateful that the court knows how important his children are to him.”  

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Jolie told ET that the actress wished the new custody agreement had remained private and has been continuing to make her children her priority.

"From the start, Angelina has been focused on their health and needs, which is why it was so important that this last court hearing be conducted privately," the spokesperson said. "It's deplorable that someone for their own selfish reasons leaked selective portions of the confidential and sealed court record to create an inaccurate and unfair picture of what is really happening."

Last Monday, Jolie was spotted with all six of her children at Thorpe Park, an amusement park in South East England, happily celebrating her 43rd birthday. Since Jolie's split from Pitt, she's been spotted spending time with her children on multiple outings, including a trip to see the Tomb Raider reboot and taking them as her dates to award shows.

"She seemed really happy!" one eyewitness told ET about the recent birthday celebration. "At one point, she had her arm around her daughter Zahara and the two of them were having a laugh."

"No one was approaching her or asking for photos," a second eyewitness said. "Everyone was respecting her space as she was spending the day out with her children."

-- Reporting by Adriane Schwartz 

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