Angelina Jolie criticises judge's decision to give Brad Pitt more time with children
The couple, whose 2018 split was amicable, are now locked in a private court battle over the custody of their six children
Brad Pitt could get more time with his six children soon.
A judge in California has amended a custody order, which has significantly increased the time the Hollywood star is allowed to spend with the children he shares with Angelina Jolie.
The couple, who divorced in 2018, reached an amicable settlement over the children – three biological and three adopted – which appears to have unraveled. They have since been locked in a private court battle with Pitt, 57, reportedly asking for joint custody while Jolie, 45, wants full custody.
While the latest ruling is tentative and not final, sealed documents filed by Pitt's attorneys at a California appeals court, seen by the AFP, show that a privately appointed judge has found "the existing custody order between the parties must be modified, per Mr Pitt's request."
The papers also claim that the judge found Jolie's "testimony lacked credibility in many important areas" and that her bid to challenge the new custody proceedings would "work grave harm upon the children, who will be further denied permanence and stability".
Jolie is attempting to have the judge dismissed from the divorce case.
In a court filing on Monday, the actress criticised the judge, John Ouderkirk, saying that he refused to allow her children to testify.
“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,” read the filing in California’s Second District Court of Appeal.
The actress also said the judge “has failed to adequately consider” a section of the California courts code, which says it is detrimental to the best interest of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence.
Her filing did not give details about what it was referring to, but her lawyers submitted a document under seal in March that purportedly offers additional information.
Pitt was accused of striking one of his sons during a flight from France to Los Angeles shortly before Jolie filed for divorce, but was later cleared by the FBI and social workers.
Jolie’s attorney said at the time that she sought a divorce “for the health of the family".
Her new filing says the judge has “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate”. She also said that if the tentative custody decision is made final by Ouderkirk, she will appeal it.
Three of Jolie and Pitt’s six children are teenagers, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, and Shiloh, 14. The oldest child Maddox is 19 and not subject to the custody decision. The couple also have twins, Vivienne and Knox, 12.
Given the celebrity moniker Brangelina, Pitt and Jolie wed in France in 2014, but had been a couple since 2004 after starring as married assassins in Mr and Mrs Smith.
– Additional reporting by AFP and AP
Updated: May 27, 2021 04:33 PM