The estranged couple have come to an agreement

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have made the surprise move of releasing a joint statement about how their divorce will proceed.

The pair’s split – which was announced back in September – has become increasingly bitter in recent months but now they’ve announced that they’ll use a private judge in the case to better protect their six children by keeping it all out of the public eye.

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A statement obtained by CNN reads: ‘The parties and their counsel have signed agreements to preserve the privacy rights of their children and family by keeping all court documents confidential and engaging a private judge to make any necessary legal decisions and to facilitate the expeditious resolution of any remaining issues.

‘The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification.’

The news marks the first time that Brad, 53, and Ange, 41, have spoken out together since their shock break-up and signals a more amicable approach to the case.

In recent months the couple have been locked in a custody dispute concerning their children Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 10 and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8.

Angelina is seeking physical custody and Brad has requested joint custody. In the current arrangement he has been granted supervised visits whilst Ange has physical custody.

Last month Brad filed an application for the records relating to the custody case to be sealed to protect the kids’ privacy and ‘to avoid subjecting them to the negative impact of the media coverage and public scrutiny of the case’.

Things then took an ugly turn in the increasingly-bitter split when Ange’s camp alleged that Brad had done this to ‘shield himself, rather than the minor children, from public view’.

In turn further court documents filed by Brad have accused Angelina of having ‘no self-regulating mechanism’ when it comes to preventing sensitive information from becoming public and said she was ‘determined to ignore even agreed upon standards relating to the children’s best interest’.

Let’s hope that this latest development is a positive step for the family amidst all of this drama.