TMZ reports that Brad Pitt has been cleared of child abuse allegations by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, accusations that came up in his custody battle with Angelina Jolie.
Sources tell TMZ that the department decided Wednesday to close its investigation into an incident between Pitt and his son, Maddox, on a private jet in September.
The Brangelina split got nasty very quickly after she filed for divorce. Divorce papers filed by Jolie gave the date of separation as Sept. 15, the day after the alleged plane incident.
TMZ reported the incident instigated the breakup and that Pitt was being investigated for being verbally abusive and physical with one of their six children, who later turned out to be Maddox.
Both TMZ and People magazine reported in September that Jolie, Pitt and some of their children were on the flight when Pitt allegedly got drunk. Pitt was accused of getting verbally abusive and “physical” with Maddox.
The actress, 41, cited irreconcilable differences in the divorce papers, saying she made the decision “for the health of the family.” She asked for physical custody of the children, with visitation rights for Pitt.
The six children: Maddox, 15; Pax, 12; Zahara, 11; Shiloh, 10 and 8-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
Custody of the children now looms as the biggest challenge in the split. Pitt filed paperwork with the Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday seeking joint and physical custody.
According to CNN, Jolie’s representatives contend there is already an agreement in place allowing her to retain sole custody.
“We can confirm that child care professionals have encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides over a week ago,” said a statement from her representatives this week.
“In accordance with this agreement, the six children will stay in their mother’s custody, and the children will continue therapeutic visits with their father. This has been determined by childcare professionals to be in the children’s best interest.”
That, however, conflicts with information from Pitt sources who say there is no formal, permanent custody agreement in place.
“This was simply an extension of the existing temporary agreement, which was voluntary and is still temporary,” the source told CNN.
The Children and Family Services decision could help Pitt’s custody efforts.
TMZ reports the abuse allegations were exhaustively investigated. Social workers interviewed Brad, Angelina, the kids and witnesses on the plane. No further action will be taken.
Pitt has only been able to see their kids during supervised visits.
“The last few weeks have been tough for Brad,” a source close to the family tells People magazine. “He has been very unhappy with the arrangement to see his kids.”
On Tuesday, Pitt appeared at a public event for the first time since the split was reported. He attended a private screening of the moving “Moonlight” in Los Angeles, joining friend and “Ocean’s” co-star Julia Roberts.
He is set to appear at the red carpet premiere of his World War II spy drama, “Allied,” on Wednesday, according to People.