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

Angelina Jolie has criticised a judge for deciding on custody arrangements for her and Brad Pitt’s children during their divorce, saying in a court filing that the judge refused to allow their children to testify. AP Photo
Angelina Jolie has criticised a judge for deciding on custody arrangements for her and Brad Pitt’s children during their divorce, saying in a court filing that the judge refused to allow their children to testify. AP Photo

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.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 5, 2015 Writer-director-producer-actress Angelina Jolie Pitt (L) and actor-producer Brad Pitt arrive for the opening night gala premiere of Universal Pictures' 'By the Sea' during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. A California judge ruled that a custody order concerning Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's children must be modified in his favor, according to court documents filed by the "Fight Club" actor's lawyers. Hollywood superstars Pitt and Jolie, who have six children and were once Hollywood's highest profile couple, formally divorced two years ago but have remained locked in a private court battle since. / AFP / MARK RALSTON
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrive for the opening night gala premiere of 'By the Sea' in 2015. AFP

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.

Director Angelina Jolie arrives on the red carpet with her six children (L-R) Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Pax Jolie-Pitt, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, and Zahara Jolie-Pitt Reuters
Angelina Jolie with her six children (L-R) Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Pax Jolie-Pitt, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, and Zahara Jolie-Pitt Reuters

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

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