Angeline Jolie says judge in custody battle with Brad Pitt will not allow children to testify
Written by Hitmix News on 26 May 2021
Angelina Jolie has hit out at the judge overseeing her custody battle with Brad Pitt, claiming in a court filing that they had refused to allow their children to testify.
Jolie, who has previously tried to disqualify Judge John Ouderkirk from the case, said on Monday that he refused to hear evidence which she says is relevant to their children’s safety and wellbeing before a tentative ruling is issued.
“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 filing in California’s Second District Court of Appeal.
Image: Jolie and her children Vivienne, Zahara, Shiloh and Knox Leon. Pic: Grant Pollard/Invision/AP
She added that the judge “has failed to adequately consider” a section of the California courts code, which says it is detrimental to the child if custody is given to a person with a history of domestic violence – but has not given any more information on this point.
A document under seal submitted to court in March is thought to give more background though.
The actress filed for divorce in 2016 in the days after a fight broke out between the pair on a private flight between France and Los Angeles.
She accused Pitt of being abusive to their then-15-year-old son during the flight – but an investigation by the FBI and child welfare officials closed the case without any charges.
Jolie’s latest filing says that the judge “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate”, citing a law that says that children over the age of 14 should be allowed to testify if they wish.
Three of Jolie and Pitt’s six children are teenagers – 17-year-old Pax, 16-year-old Zahara, and Shiloh, 14.
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Maddox, 19, is not affected by the custody decision. The pair also have 12-year-old twins together, Vivienne and Knox.
In response to Jolie’s filing, Pitt’s attorneys said: “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.”
Pitt’s filing said the judge found Jolie’s testimony “lacked 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”.
It adds that Jolie’s objections and delays in reaching an agreement would cause “grave harm upon the children, who will be further denied permanence and stability”.
Due to the files being sealed, it is unclear as to what the current custody arrangement is, but at the start of the process, Pitt sought joint custody while Jolie wanted primary physical custody.
Divorce lawyers for both sides declined to comment on the new filings.