Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has been legally divorced for years, but a number of outstanding issues, such as child custody and the division of assets, have kept the two involved in one legal battle after another for the last few years. And now, following an apparent victory on Jolie's side of the courtroom, Brad Pitt's legal team is firing back. Namely by asking that the recent disqualification of a judge be reviewed by a higher court.
Back in May when Judge John Ouderkirk declined to hear evidence that Angelina Jolie's legal team felt was relevant to the pending decision regarding custody of their minor children, a motion was filed by Jolie's team to have the judge removed from the case. This was actually the second time that Jolie had tried to have the judge removed from the case, arguing that the judge and one of Brad Pitt's lawyers had a previously existing business relationship. While the attempt to disqualify the judge failed the first time around it was confirmed last month that the judge was in fact removed after this second attempt.
It's now been reported that Brad Pitt's legal team would like to see the disqualification reviewed, as the potential conflict had been, according to Pitt's side, properly disclosed previously. Pitt's lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. also sent in a statement (via Us) that the disqualification here gives parties in future divorces the opportunity to attempt to disqualify judges only after they've received rulings they don't like. Angelina Jolie was attempting to get sole custody of the couple's minor children, following allegations of domestic abuse, but the judge ruled in favor of a joint custody arrangement.
Certainly, with the judge removed, there is at least the possibility of the custody deal being reconsidered. Angelina Jolie's side can raise the evidence that was not considered previously, and if the new judge is willing to hear it, there's the potential that it could, as Jolie's team believes, be relevant and ultimately reverse the decision. But by then Brad Pitt will have been exercising his joint custody for some period of time, and unless there is fresh evidence that the agreement is not working, it's possible that there will be no need to reconsider things.
If the higher court agrees to review the disqualification we could end up right back where things started if the decision is reversed and the judge is put back. alternatively, if the new judge takes over we could see multiple previous rulings reconsidered by the new judge.
What is absolutely clear is that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are far from done seeing each other in court. One way or another we'll be seeing different aspects of this case relitigated.
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