In a turn of events, the actress set to star in Marvel’s new franchise, “Eternals” was successful in debarring the judge in her custody case after her last futile attempt in 2020. Jolie won her fight to remove Ouderkirk from the case after she alleged that he failed to reveal his prior relationship with Pitt’s lawyers as stated by Us Weekly.
“Judge Ouderkirk is no longer involved, and Angelina is grateful to seek a fair decision regarding custody for the children,” a source reported.
This was a tough one for Pitt after the Judge recently granted him joint custody of the children, tilting his feud with Jolie in his favor. He responded fiercely to the court’s decision by petitioning for a review.
According to US Weekly, the actor’s court documents clearly showed his displeasure about the sudden removal of Judge John W. Ouderkirk from his ongoing legal saga with Jolie. It further revealed Pitt’s argument that the decision from the Second District Court of Appeal in California be reexamined by the state’s highest court.
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star and his legal team maintained that judge Ouderkirk had been sincere in disclosing his connection with his attorneys. The Academy Award winner argued that the court “created a conflict” with its decision to remove Ouderkirk and “incorrectly applied” a crucial requirement to do so.
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“Review is warranted to resolve whether an administrative error in failing promptly to disclose additional, immaterial matters involving counsel for a party, years after disclosing a significant history of such matters, requires disqualification,” the documents stated.
“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,” the petition continued.
More On The Petition
Pitt’s lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., told Us Weekly that Ouderkirk “was improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision, following a protracted legal process with several witnesses and experts.”
He further stated that the ruling “will reward parties who are losing child custody cases” and “condone their gamesmanship” which was harmful to the children and the family by prolonging the legal dispute.
He also said that the “crafty” removal of Ouderkirk set a precedent that will “deprive parents of irreplaceable time” with their kids. “The lower court’s ruling is bad for children and bad for California’s overburdened judicial system,” he added.
The judges who oversaw the hearing in July decided to remove Ouderkirk from the case because they believed that his “failure to make mandatory disclosures” about the legal proceedings involving Pitt’s lawyers “might cause an objective person, aware of all of the facts, to doubt his impartiality in the case.
They then cited Ouderkirk’s “ethical breach” and “recent professional relationships with Pitt’s counsel” and ruled that “disqualification is required.”
Back in May 2021, “The Those Who Wish Me Dead” actress alleged through court documents that the judge had refused to allow evidence from her children regarding Pitt’s unconfirmed history of domestic violence.
She claimed that awarding joint custody would have a negative impact on the kids. Despite her testimony, Pitt won the battle as the judge passed a temporary ruling for the exes to split time with their children.
A source disclosed to Us Weekly that Jolie was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision and was already plotting her next play.
“She will never forgive him,” the source explained, adding that the actress will use “everything she’s got” to appeal the arrangement. “She maintains it’s far from over and still believes that justice will prevail.”
Pitt, for his part, was “delighted” by the judge’s ruling, as his battle for joint custody had been stuck in limbo. Sadly, his joy might just be short-lived due to Ouderkirk’s removal.
What Happens Next?
The decision means the custody battle over the couple’s five minor children which was almost resolved could start over with a new judge.
Ouderkirk’s removal implies that his previous rulings in the case could be voided, slowing down the case even further. It would take some time to get a new court date and get a new judge who would acquaint himself with the previous legal proceedings.
Thus, more of the couple’s six children could attain the age of maturity just like Maddox (19), at which point they can make their own choices about a relationship with their father.
Their other children are Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 12.