Angelina Jolie initially filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in 2016 and while the two actors are legally no longer married, the court battle between them is far from over. The recent legal fight between the two of them has been around custody of the five minor children the couple have. And a recent decision by the judge in that case reportedly has Angelina Jolie quite frustrated, to the point where she is now attempting to have the judge disqualified.
According to The Guardian, papers were filed this week by Angelina Jolie's side which ask that Judge John Ouderkirk be disqualified from the divorce case. According to the filing, Judge Ouderkirk declined to hear evidence which Jolie's side believes is "relevant to the children’s health, safety, and welfare, evidence critical to making her case." There have been allegations of Brad Pitt having been violent toward at least one of his children in the past, but no charges were filed against the actor following investigations.
While it's not made entirely clear exactly what this evidence is that the judge has declined to hear, elsewhere the filing makes note that the judge refused to hear testimony from some of the children whose custody is at issue. Three of the children of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are minors 14-years-old or older, and a California code allows that any minors of at least 14 should be allowed to testify in court if they wish to. The oldest Pitt-Jolie child, Maddox, is 19 and has already testified previously.
The lack of hearing evidence isn't the only reason that Angelina Jolie is reportedly looking to disqualify judge Ouderkirk. Her lawyers are also arguing that the private judge has an improper business relationship with one of Brad Pitt's lawyers. However, the issues of a previous relationship actually aren't new. In fact, Angelina Jolie's attempts to disqualify this judge aren't new either. Her legal team attempted to do the same thing last summer. That request was denied, but it's possible that these new issues could potentially be enough to convince a court to disqualify the judge this time.
The decision on this filing could drastically impact the next stages of this child custody battle. Brad Pitt's lawyers, in response to the filing from Angelina Jolie's side, say a tentative ruling and order has been made. So if Jolie's challenge is not successful it seems that this stage of the legal battle will be over. However, in the filing Jolie apparently has already promised to appeal the tentative order if it is made permanent.
If the judge is, in fact, disqualified, then proceedings will almost certainly take several steps back as a new judge is brought up to speed. One way or another, this legal battle likely will not be over very soon.
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