Angelina Jolie wants judge barred from divorce case as he failed to disclose association with Brad Pitt's lawyer
Angelina Jolie has reportedly asked a private judge to be disqualified from overseeing her divorce proceedings with ex Brad Pitt, alleging he has not sufficiently disclosed his business relationships with one of Pitt's attorneys.
Jolie argued in a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court Monday that Judge John W. Ouderkirk was "too late" and "not forthcoming enough" about other cases he was involved in with Pitt attorney Anne C. Kiley, and therefore should be taken off the divorce case that she filed in 2016, Page Six reported.
Ouderkirk has “failed to disclose the cases that demonstrated the current, ongoing, repeat-customer relationship between the judge and Respondent’s counsel" during the Jolie-Pitt proceedings, the filing states.
The document further alleges that Pitt’s attorney “actively advocated for Judge Ouderkirk’s financial interests in moving — over the opposing party’s opposition — to have his appointment (and his ability to continue to receive fees) extended in a high profile case.”
Like most high-profile couples, Pitt and Jolie have opted for a private judge to preside over their divorce. This would ensure most of the case filings, as well as personal and financial details within them, remain sealed. Some legal moves, of course, will have to be made following standard court procedure.
The 'Maleficent' star emphasized in her filing that a private judge must adhere to the same rules of disclosure and conflict interest as other officers of the court. The document said “it doesn’t matter if Judge Ouderkirk is actually biased. Under California law, disqualification is required so long as a person aware of the facts ‘might reasonably entertain a doubt’ about Judge Ouderkirk’s ability to remain impartial.”
While Jolie's lawyers have sought to have Ouderkirk disqualify himself in private proceedings, the filing indicates Pitt's lawyers had insisted on retaining him.
In April 2019, Pitt and Jolie were declared divorced and the latter dropped "Pitt' from her name. This happened after their lawyers requested for a bifurcated judgment, meaning "two married people can be declared single while other issues, including finances and child custody, remain," per Page Six.
While it is not clear what issues remain unresolved considering most of the documents remain sealed, Jolie had filed papers in 2018 alleging Pitt wasn't paying her sufficient child support. This was disputed by the 'Fight Club' star's attorneys, who said the filing was simply an effort to manipulate media coverage of their split.
Jolie, 44, and Pitt, 56, had been together for 12 years and married for two when Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. They were legally separated for about three years as they worked towards finalizing their divorce.
Earlier this year, one source told Us Weekly that Jolie was not willing to let bygones be bygones despite their three-year separation. "Angelina still has a lot of resentment toward Brad," the source said. "She wants him to be held accountable because she feels he turned her and the children's lives upside down."
The stars of 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' sent shockwaves across Hollywood and left fans in disbelief when they announced their split in September 2016 citing irreconcilable differences.
Angelina and Brad did not have a happy ending as a couple but have remained civil with each other for the sake of their six children – Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, Knox, 11 and Vivienne, 11.