The Associated Press reported yesterday that Angelina Jolie’s divorce attorneys have expressed their displeasure and concerns about Judge John Ouderkirk, the private judge Pitt and Jolie hired four years ago to oversee their divorce proceedings. Jolie has been unhappy with Ouderkirk before – last year, she tried to get him thrown off the case because he failed to disclose his long-standing financial entanglement with Pitt’s lawyers. Ouderkirk refused to recuse himself. For months, Ouderkirk has heard testimony from experts and specialists about the issue of custody for the minor Jolie-Pitt children. I believe Pitt thinks Maddox and Pax are a lost cause – Maddox is 19 years old and Pax is 17. But the other Jolie-Pitt kids are young enough for there to be a formal custody agreement, so that was being worked out. The problem, according to Jolie and her lawyers, was that Ouderkirk didn’t allow the kids to testify and that he refused to allow evidence pertinent to her case. Well, big surprise, I guess. Brad ran to Page Six to crow about how he “won” the custody case:
Brad Pitt has been granted joint custody of his children with Angelina Jolie following a lengthy court battle, Page Six has learned. The Oscar winner, 57, has been fighting Jolie, 46, through the courts for nearly five years for equal rights to their six kids. Judge John Ouderkirk, the private judge hired by the former couple to oversee the case, made his thoughts clear in a lengthy recent ruling, we understand, after months of witness testimony, including child services professionals who interviewed the Jolie-Pitt children and others who have been around the family.
A source with knowledge of the case told Page Six: “There was a significant change made in the custody agreements based on an extremely detailed decision made by the judge. Brad was just trying to have more time with his kids – and it has been clear that Angie has done everything possible to prevent this.”
“This trial lasted for several months and there were a f–k ton of witnesses, experts, therapists and other people who have been with the kids and around them, and the decision was based on this,” the source added.
Another Source close to the issue said it was a “tentative decision,” adding that Jolie is continuing her legal fight. “Joint custody is not the issue that Angelina objects to, there were other issues of concern, but the court proceedings are closed and sealed,” the source said.
Page Six has seen one court filing label, which reads: “Offer of Proof and authority in support thereof RE: testimony regarding domestic violence.” The documents are sealed, so we’re unable to see what evidence may lie there. The source close to the issue added: “There was a safety order surrounding the previous custody arrangements, that is public, and the kids schedule has been set under the jurisdiction of the division of family services for over three years.”
“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.
[From Page Six]
My guess? Angelina knew that information about Ouderkirk’s ruling was about to come out so her lawyers went to the Associated Press with the story about how Ouderkirk was not an impartial jurist. Which I believe, honestly. I think Ouderkirk really screwed over Jolie and the kids. I also think Brad was way too quick to run to Page Six to claim that he won and he successfully screwed over Jolie. Which was the point of all of Pitt’s bullsh-t for the past five years – he was mad at Angelina and he wanted to punish her for leaving him.
People Magazine didn’t run solely with Team Pitt’s side of the story, they merely wrote that Ouderkirk “tentatively awarded Pitt more custody over the former couple’s five minor children” but they noted: “it’s unclear if the decision is legally binding as another source says nothing has yet to change in terms of official custody.” A source told People that at the trial “the children’s voices were heard, but they just didn’t testify themselves.” Which, again, is strange because a California statute says that “any child at least 14 years of age should be allowed to weigh in and state custodial preference, making Pax, Zahara and Shiloh eligible to testify.”
Jolie’s lawyers filed their complaint with California’s Second District Court of Appeal over “Ouderkirk’s ruling and continuing purview over the case.”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.
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