For several months Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are in a legal battle for custody of their children after starting the divorce process, however, everything could change in favor of the actress since a court of California appeals on Friday disqualified a private judge in charge of the actors’ divorce, which gave Jolie a major win in the case.
The 22d District Court of Appeal agreed with Jolie that Judge John W. Ouderkirk did not disclose enough of his business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys.
“Judge Ouderkirk’s ethical misconduct, considered in conjunction with the information revealed regarding his recent professional relationships with Pitt’s counsels, could lead to an objective person, aware of all the facts, having a reasonable doubt about the judge’s ability to be impartial. A disqualification is required,” the court ruled.
The decision means that the fight for guardianship of the couple’s five minor children, that was coming to an end, it could start over. The judge has already ordered the couple’s divorce, but handled the guardianship of the children separately.
Like many famous couples, Pitt and Jolie decided to hire their own judge to have greater privacy in the divorce process.
Ouderkirk declined to disqualify himself when Jolie requested it in August. A judge in a lower court ruled that Jolie’s disqualification application had been filed too late. After this, Jolie’s lawyers appealed.
The arguments presented on July 9 before the appeals court and focused on what ethical rules should apply to private judges who, like Ouderkirk, are usually court judges superiors retired.
“If you’re going to take on the role of a paid private judge you have to abide by the rules and the rules are very clear, they require full transparency,” Jolie’s attorney Robert Olson said. “Matters that should have been disclosed were not disclosed.”
The panel questioned whether a settlement such should be allowed from entry into California, but its ruling applies only to Ouderkirk. Jolie and Pitt’s attorneys had no comment at this time on the ruling.
Jolie, 46, and Pitt, 57, were one of Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years. They were married for two years when Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. Her divorce was formalized in April 2019, after her lawyers asked for a ruling allowing married people to be declared unmarried while other matters, including financial and custody of your children, they continued to be resolved.
In May Jolie and her lawyers criticized Ouderkirk for not allowing the couple’s children to testify at the hearings.
The actress also said the judge had “not properly considered” a section of the court code. of California which indicates that the welfare of minors is affected if guardianship is granted to a person with a history of domestic violence.
Documents filed by Jolie gave no details about what she was referring to, but her attorneys filed a confidential document in March that allegedly includes more information. The ruling does not indicate whether the minors will be able to testify in the case.