Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce drama took a decidedly messy turn Thursday, with multiple outlets reporting the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County is conducting an inquiry into allegations that the actor was involved in an incident with a child.

Citing the law's privacy ramifications, a spokesperson for the DCFS could not confirm or deny to E! News if there is an active investigation taking place. The FBI has not launched an investigation at this time, and a representative for the LAPD told E! News police are not investigating allegations of child abuse.

Unconfirmed reports aside, how could said allegations impact Pitt in his forthcoming divorce settlement? Legal expert Troy Slaten talks to E! News about the latest development in the former couple's saga, weighing in on every unanswered question from Jolie's sole physical custody request to Pitt's current accessibility to their six children. 

As for how an investigation would affect Brad and Angie's divorce, Slaten tells us, "It wouldn't affect any monetary settlement between the two as far as the community property is concerned. But it would certainly affect who gets physical custody and even legal custody." As Slaten explains, legal custody refers to decision-making and physical custody refers to which parent or guardian is taking care of the kids. 

Moving forward, Slaten speculates that if the DCFS finds the current inquiry calls for an investigation, they will  "either substantiate the claims, find the claims unsubstantiated or find that they weren't able to get enough information." From there, if the DCFS finds a crime has been committed, they will call on law enforcement.

"[The DCFS] always want to err on the side of protecting a child," Slaten continues. "If they have the power to remove the child from what they believe is an unsafe environment, they can do so with court approval. I don't think that's going to be the situation here because clearly, Angelina Jolie can provide a safe environment."

According to TMZ's unconfirmed reports, the incident occurred Sept. 14 when Pitt allegedly "got wasted" on a plane flying from Europe to L.A. and "went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids." People, also unconfirmed in their reporting, claimed the actor got "verbally abusive" and "physical." The plane landed at an airport around 8 p.m., per TMZ, and witnesses said the actor "continued his rant on the tarmac." An anonymous person reported the incident, sources told both outlets.

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie

Amanda Schwab/

As for the exact location of the alleged incident, foreign or domestic, Slaten tells us, "It may matter as far as if there was a specific moment of battery or an assault on a child. But if there is a pattern of abuse, it doesn't matter if it happened elsewhere. They're going to look to see if there was a pattern. If a parent is abusing a child in a foreign country, most likely they're doing it at home. Normally, if a parent is abusive to a child, it's not a one-off occurrence. It happens more than once."

When it comes to Brad's access to the children following such allegations, Slaten explains it's up to authorities to make the final call.

"It depends how dangerous investigators believe the situation is," he says, continuing, "Either Angelina or the DCFS can go to court and seek an emergency order if they believe the situation warrants it. They can ask for no visitation unless it's supervised or no visitation unless he has not consumed alcohol in the past 12 or 24 hours. There are all kinds of orders that can be fashioned, anything that would be reasonably related to protecting the child."

Reps for the actors have not commented on the reports. Pitt "takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children," a source close to the actor said. "It's unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light."

Similarly, a source close to the investigation told E! News Pitt is taking this seriously and "cooperating fully." The actor "will continue to do what's in the best interest of the children," the source said, adding that he's "been a good father. He is doing what he can to protect his children."

When asked of an investigation's long term impact on the Jolie-Pitt's, Slayten concludes, "Nobody benefits from this. The children are hurt. I guess in a way if Angelina Jolie wants sole physical custody and these reports are found to be true, these reports would weigh in her favor to decide these issues. Ultimately, though, nobody benefits from any of this." 

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