Updated article on 28/10/21: Brad Pitt's petition against a court ruling that disqualified the judge in his and Angelina Jolie's custody battle has been denied.
On October 27, the California Supreme court denied a review of the appeals court’s decision to disqualify LA superior court judge John W Ouderkirk from the case.
Jolie’s request to have the judge removed was grated in July after he had awarded Pitt joint custody over the couple's five minor children in May. The couple's son Max is older than 18-years-old and therefore is not part of the custody agreement.
A representative for Pitt told People that the court's decision 'not to review' the court ruling 'does not change the extraordinary amount of factual evidence” which led to Ouderkirk and multiple experts reaching 'their clear conclusion about what is in the children’s best interests'.
'We will continue to do everything that’s legally necessary based on the detailed findings of the independent experts,' they added.
The publication also reported that Jolie's lawyer said that the actor is 'pleased that her children’s wellbeing will not be guided by unethical behaviour'.
Updated article on 02/09/21: Brad Pitt has reportedly filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to review his custody case, following Angelina Jolie's recent challenge.
In May, the actor was tentatively granted joint custody of their five youngest children. However, given that the order came from Judge John Ouderkirk, who officiated the former couple's 2014 wedding, Jolie later requested to disqualify the judge - a motion that was later approved by the California appeals court.
According to Jolie's legal team, the judge failed to 'disclose multiple professional, business and financial relationships, ongoing during the course of the matter, with Pitt's counsel and their law firms'.
Jolie's approved request has meant that she continues to retain full-time custody of the couple's children.
In response, Pitt's new petition - reportedly obtained by E! News on September 1 - is believed to read: 'The Court of Appeal effectively upended the constitutionally authorised temporary judging system in California and generated widespread confusion, uncertainty, and instability for judges, litigants, and the California judicial system as a whole.
'After more than four years of contentious litigation, every day of which has harmed the children and their father, an important and considered custody decision will be entirely undone as a result of an administrative error that is wholly unrelated to the merits of the custody dispute itself.'
In a statement given to E! News, Pitt's lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. reportedly stated that the judge was 'improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision'.
'Allowing this kind of crafty litigation strategy will deprive parents of irreplaceable time with their children,' he added, per the publication.
In response, Jolie's lawyer Robert A. Olson is said to have told the news outlet: 'The Court of Appeal unanimously refused to tolerate the ethical violations of the private judge.'
Olson reportedly argued that Pitt was 'clinging to this private judge who exhibited bias and refused statutorily required evidence', adding: 'It is disturbing that in full knowledge of unethical behaviour, and having previously failed to disclose their new and ongoing financial relationships with him, Mr. Pitt's counsel would seek to reinstate the private judge.'
In light of the disqualification ruling, Ouderkirk said he 'made all required disclosures in a timely manner at the time of his initial appointment'.
'Three of the children have asked to testify,' Jolie’s lawyers said in court documents reportedly filed in December 2020 and obtained by Us Weekly on Thursday June 17.
The news comes weeks after Pitt was granted joint custody of their children.
It's unknown which of the three children wanted to testify against their dad, but the documents filed by Jolie state that 'the children whose custody is at issue are old enough to understand what is going on' in the custody case.
'The trial is necessarily going to impact them emotionally,' Jolie's lawyers added. 'To make any of the children endure what may be a futile and void proceeding is beyond unjustified. It is cruel.'
The former couple have a hearing to discuss the custody of their children on July 9, according to the Independent.
Updated article on 26/05/21: Brad Pitt is believed to have tentatively been granted joint custody of his children with Angelina Jolie, following a five-year long court battle.
While the custody decision is yet to be ratified and confirmed, according to the Associated Press (AP) Jolie has filed a court ruling criticising judge John Ouderkirk after he made his intentions to rule known. In the document submitted by Jolie, she claims that the judge refused to allow their children to testify, which she believes was relevant to their safety and well-being. The documents don’t give further information on what that evidence may be.
‘Judge Ouderkirk denied Ms. Jolie a fair trial, improperly excluding her evidence relevant to the children’s health, safety, and welfare, evidence critical to making her case,’ according to the court filing in California’s Second District Court of Appeal, per AP.
The news outlet also reports that the actor said the judge ‘failed to adequately consider’ a section of the California courts code, which states that it’s detrimental to the best interest of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence. Similarly, the court filing failed to provide details on what domestic violence it referred to.
Pitt previously denied allegations that he was abusive towards his then-15-year-old son Maddox during a flight. Investigations into the 2016 incident were closed with no charges filed.
Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016, which was later granted in 2019. The pair are parents to Maddox, 19 (who is not subject to the custody decision), Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, Vivienne and Knox, both 12.
Pitt’s attorneys reportedly stated in response to Jolie’s court filing: ‘Ouderkirk has conducted an extensive proceeding over the past six months in a thorough, fair manner and reached a tentative ruling and order after hearing from experts and percipient witnesses.’
They added that the judge deemed Jolie’s filing lacking ‘credibility in many important areas, and the existing custody order between the parties must be modified, per Mr. Pitt’s request, in the best interests of the children’.
Jolie has been seeking sole custody of their children while her ex-husband was seeking joint custody. Lawyers for Pitt and Jolie reportedly declined to comment on the new filings.
In her court filing, Jolie reportedly said that if the tentative custody decision regarding custody is made final by Ouderkirk, she will appeal it.
Article originally published on 13/06/18: Following their split in 2016 and a pretty lengthy custody battle, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt reached a custody agreement that meant the actress retained sole custody of their six children, while her estranged husband would be granted ‘therapeutic visits’.
However, the Maleficient star’s primary custody of her children may now be in threat.
According to court documents obtained by CNN and issued last week, a judge is ordering the 43-year-old to improve her childrens’ relationship with their father or risk losing primary physical custody.
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County reportedly told Jolie, who filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016, that ‘not having a relationship with their father’ would be ‘harmful’ to their six children (Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox). Jolie has also been instructed by the judge to tell her children that they are ‘safe with their father’.
Going forward, the court is now demanding the Wanted actress to provide Pitt with the mobile number of each child, and to allow him to speak to his children whenever he wants. The filmmaker has also been banned from reading the texts sent between Pitt and their children.
The order outlines a shared custody schedule for the summer in which the children will split their time between Pitt's home in Los Angeles and London (where Jolie is currently filming Maleficient 2).
As the couple’s eldest child Maddox is 16-year-old, he is reportedly exempt from such ruling, however his younger siblings will be required to follow a strict court-ordered schedule that dictates which days they must spend with each parent. If Jolie refuses to agree to the court’s demands, her custody of the children may be brought into question.
‘If the minor children remain closed down to their father and depending on the circumstances surrounding this condition, it may result in a reduction of the time they spend with [Jolie] and may result in the Court ordering primary physical custody to [Pitt],’ the court told the actress.
‘We all have our difficult times, but as a mother you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids,’ she continued. ‘They are going through their formative years and everything else comes second to that.’
Jolie has been busy with her children in London recently, having just celebrated her 43rd birthday with her brood at Thorpe Park riding roller coasters.
We hope for the sake of their children, Jolie and Pitt are able to solve their custody issues.
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