In the custody dispute between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the actress has won a stage victory. An appeal report in California complied with Jolie’s request to recall the responsible judge John Ouderkirk, as US media reported on Friday. Ouderkirk had violated his “ethical obligations,” the “People” magazine quoted from the court decision.
The former Hollywood dream couple has been officially divorced since 2019, but is arguing about custody of the five minor biological and adopted children. Jolie and Pitt had called in the private judge Ouderkirk themselves. But he angered Jolie when he decided in May to extend her ex-husband’s custody. She appealed against this decision, criticizing that the judge might be biased. Ouderkirk had not disclosed previous business relationships with Pitt’s lawyers, so doubts about his neutrality were justified.
What this decision means for the continuation of the custody dispute, however, is unclear. A spokesman for Pitt told People that this was only a procedural aspect. The facts of what would be best for the children have not changed. Trial observers assume that the custody dispute will now drag on even longer. Jolie and Pitt could appoint a new private judge to arbitrate or go to a public family court.
Pitt, 57, and Jolie, 46, had married in 2014 after a long-term relationship. Two years later, Jolie filed for divorce. She demanded sole custody of the six children, who are now between 12 and 19 years old. Since then, negotiations on the division of custody and finances have been going on in court. At 19, the eldest son Maddox is no longer part of the legal dispute.