Jolie Says Judge In Pitt Divorce Won’t Let Children Testify | Nation / World News
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Angelina Jolie has slammed a judge deciding custody arrangements for her and Brad Pitt’s children during their divorce, saying in a court file that the judge refused to allow their children to testify.
Jolie, who sought to disqualify Judge John Ouderkirk from the divorce case, said in the filing Monday that he refused to hear any evidence she considered relevant to the safety and well-being of children before to make an interim decision. The documents do not specify what this evidence may be.
“Judge Ouderkirk denied Ms. Jolie a fair trial, improperly excluding her evidence concerning the health, safety and well-being of children, essential elements to justify her case,” according to the Court of Appeal’s file of the second district of California.
The actress also said the judge “did not sufficiently consider” a section of the California Courts Code, which says it is prejudicial to the best interests of the child if custody is granted to someone with a history of domestic violence. His file did not give details of what he was referring to, but his lawyers submitted a sealed document in March that allegedly offers additional information.
Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, days after a disagreement erupted over a private flight carrying the actors and their children from France to Los Angeles. Pitt was charged with abusing his then 15-year-old son during the robbery, but investigations by child welfare officials and the FBI were closed without any charges being filed against the actor. Jolie’s attorney said at the time that she filed for a divorce “for the sake of the family.”
His new case says the judge “refused to hear comments from underage teens about their experiences, needs, or wishes regarding custody,” citing a California code that says a child 14 or older should be allowed to testify if he wants to.
Three of Jolie and Pitt’s six children are teenagers, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, and Shiloh, 14. The oldest, Maddox, is 19 years old and is not subject to the custody order. They also have 12-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.
In response to Jolie’s case, Pitt’s attorneys said: “Ouderkirk has conducted a thorough proceeding over the past six months in a thorough and fair manner and has reached an interim ruling and order after hearing from experts and witnesses witnesses. “
According to Pitt’s record, the judge concluded that Jolie’s testimony “lacked credibility in many important areas and that the existing custody order between the parties should be varied, at Mr. Pitt’s request, in the best interests of the children ”.
He says Jolie’s objections and further delays in reaching a deal “would do serious harm to the children, who will still be denied permanence and stability.”
It is not known what the current custody regime is, as the court seals most of the cases. When the divorce process began, Jolie applied for primary physical custody – meaning the children would live with her more than half the time – but changes were made that were not made public. Pitt requested joint custody.
Lawyers for both sides declined to comment on the new filings.
Others close to Jolie say her family’s struggles prompted her to take a more active role in changing the law’s approach to custody.
“Ms. Jolie has worked privately for the past four and a half years to both heal her family and fight for system improvements to ensure that other families don’t go through what hers has endured,” said Peter Harvey, attorney and former New Jersey attorney general who worked with Jolie on policy issues, told The Associated Press.
Pretty a sought to disqualify Ouderkirk, a private judge that she and Pitt chose to preserve their privacy, arguing he had an improper business relationship with one of Pitt’s attorneys.
She said in Monday’s filing that if the interim custody decision was made final by Ouderkirk, she would appeal it.
Jolie, 45, and Pitt, 57, have been among Hollywood’s most important couples for 12 years. They had been married for two years when Jolie filed for divorce. They were declared divorced in April 2019, after their lawyers sought a judgment allowing a married couple to be declared single as other issues remained, including finances and child custody.
Gecker reported from San Francisco.
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