Brad Pitt files for joint custody of children with Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt has requested joint custody of his six children with Angelina Jolie in legal papers filed over their divorce.

His request for access was included in his first formal legal response to Jolie's petition to end their marriage over "irreconcilable differences".

The Hollywood stars have temporarily agreed to joint access to the children Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

Custody agreement are likely to be one of the key issues in the Hollywood stars' divorce.

They are said to have split after Pitt allegedly become abusive towards Maddox on a private flight in September.

Authorities are said to be investigating what exactly happened during the altercation, though Pitt's representatives have denied claims that he physically attacked his son.

Pitt and Jolie with their six children Credit: Reuters

The couple's divorce papers give the date of their split as September 15, the day after the alleged altercation on their jet.

Jolie and Pitt will also have to thrash out a financial deal in a split involving two of Hollywood's highest paid stars.

Pitt's legal filing gives no details of any prenuptial deal that would govern how the pair split their assets.

The couple first got together on the on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith in 2005 and married two years ago. Their three eldest children are adopted from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia respectively. They also have three biological children together.

The results of an apparent investigation by child welfare services into Pitt's altercation with his son Maddox could be a crucial factor in how the judge reaches a decision over custody.

The actors could also reach a private agreement that would not involve a public custody fight in court.