Judge Won’t Let Children Testify in Jolie-Pitt Divorce

Angelina Jolie criticized Judge John Ouderkirk, who is deciding on the child custody issue of her divorce with Brad Pitt, saying that the Judge refused to allow their children to testify. One of Hollywood’s most prominent couples, Jolie, 45, and Pitt, 57, were together for 12 years.

Jolie has sought to disqualify Ouderkirk, arguing that he has an improper business relationship with one of Pitt’s attorneys. She added that the judge declined to hear evidence she claims to be relevant to the well-being and safety before issuing a tentative ruling. 

“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,” according to the filing in California’s Second District Court of Appeal.

According to Jolie, the Judge failed to consider a section of the California Family Code, which says it is detrimental to the child’s best interest if custody is awarded to a person with a domestic violence history. Although her filing did not provide details about what it was referring to, her lawyers submitted a document under seal which purportedly offers additional information.

Jolie filed for a divorce in 2016, days after a disagreement broke out while on a private flight from France to Los Angeles. It was claimed that Pitt was abusive toward his eldest son during the flight. However, investigations by the FBI and the child welfare officials concluded with no charges filed against Pitt. The attorney for Jolie said she wanted a divorce for the health of her family.

Her new filing alleged that the Judge refused to hear the teenagers’ testimony about their needs, experiences, or wishes as to their parent’s custody issue. The California Code says a child 14 or over should be allowed to testify if they want to.

Three of the six children are teenagers, 17-year-old Pax, 16-year-old Zahara, and 14-year-old Shiloh. Maddox, the eldest, is 19 and not subject to the custody decision. They also have twins, Vivienne and Knox, who are 12-year-old.