ENTERTAINMENT

Jolie-Pitt Divorce Judge Disqualified By Appeals Court

Jul 23, 2021, 1:41 PM
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 03:  Actors Brad Pitt (L) and Angelina Jolie arrive at the premiere of...
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actors Brad Pitt (L) and Angelina Jolie arrive at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' and Spyglass Entertainment's "Invictus" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Theater on December 3, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court on Friday disqualified a private judge being used by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in their divorce case, handing Jolie a major victory.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with Jolie that Judge John W. Ouderkirk didn’t sufficiently disclose business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys.

“Judge Ouderkirk’s ethical breach, considered together with the information disclosed concerning his recent professional relationships with Pitt’s counsel, might cause an objective person, aware of all the facts, reasonably to entertain a doubt as to the judge’s ability to be impartial. Disqualification is required,” the court ruled.

The decision means that the custody fight over the couple’s five minor children, which was nearing an end, could be starting over.

The judge already ruled the pair divorced, but separated the child custody issues.

Like many celebrity couples, Pitt and Jolie opted to hire their own judge to increase their privacy in the divorce proceedings.

Ouderkirk declined to disqualify himself when Jolie asked him to in a filing in August. A lower court judge ruled that Jolie’s request for disqualification came too late. Jolie’s attorneys then appealed.

The July 9 oral arguments in front of the appeals court focused on exactly which ethical rules should apply to private judges, who, like Ouderkirk, are usually retired superior court judges.

“If you’re going to play the role of a paid private judge you have to play by the rules and the rules are very clear, they require full transparency,” Jolie’s attorney Robert Olson said. “Matters that should have been disclosed were not disclosed.”

The panel questioned whether such an arrangement should be allowed in California at all, but their ruling applies only to Ouderkirk.

Attorneys for the two sides did not have an immediate comment on the ruling.

Jolie, 46, and Pitt, 57, were among Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years. They had been married for two years when Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. They were declared divorced in April 2019, after their lawyers asked for a judgment that allowed a married couple to be declared single while other issues remained, including finances and child custody.

In May, Jolie and her attorneys criticized Ouderkirk for not allowing the couple’s children to testify in the proceedings.

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.

The ruling does not address whether the children should be allowed to testify in the case.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Entertainment

Singer Lana Del Rey, seen here arriving at the Variety 2021 Music Hitmakers Brunch held at the City...
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

Lana Del Rey announces new album to debut next year

If your day needs a Rey of sunshine, here's some good news for you: Lana Del Rey has announced a new album.
20 hours ago
Nancy Long is standing in front of Gardner Village....
Brooke Williams

Celebration of Life to be held in January at Gardner Village for founder Nancy Long

The founder of Gardner Village in West Valley has died. A celebration of life will be held in January.
20 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Christina Rogers, Janeen Damian, Michael Damian, Brad Krevo...
Eliza Pace

Netflix’s ‘Falling for Christmas’ filmed at these charming Utah locations

Lindsay Lohan's "Falling for Christmas" movie may seem familiar - it's because it was shot in Utah!
2 days ago
Kirstie Alley enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 16, 2018 in Boreh...
Associated Press

Kirstie Alley, Emmy-winning ‘Cheers’ star, dies at 71

Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71.
3 days ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: Co-host Dolly Parton speaks onstage during the 57th Academy of Countr...
Eliza Pace

Dolly Parton joins Tiktok: ‘Better late than never!’

Dolly Parton has officially joined Tiktok.
3 days ago
FILE: In this photo illustration, A Ticketmaster ticket is shown on a cellphone on November 18, 202...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster

More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. for "unlawful conduct" in the pop star's chaotic tour sale.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Jolie-Pitt Divorce Judge Disqualified By Appeals Court