Brad Pitt challenges court's decision to disqualify judge and throw out joint custody ruling

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  • Brad Pitt is challenging the court's decision to remove Judge John Ouderkirk from overseeing his ongoing custody battle against Angelina Jolie.
  • In July, the Maleficent star argued the judge should be removed as he wouldn't be able to be impartial having worked with Pitt's counsel and their law firms before.
  • Judge John Ouderkirk also officiated the couple's wedding in France in 2014 before their split in 2016.
  • Judge Ouderkirk ruled in favour of Pitt in May, granting him joint custody of his children; the ruling has since also been thrown out and Jolie has retained full custody.

Brad Pitt is challenging the court's most recent ruling in his ongoing custody battle with Angelina Jolie.

In July, private judge, Judge John Ouderkirk was disqualified from overseeing the couple's divorce and custody matters over their six children.

In May, the judge appointed to rule on their split - who had also officiated their wedding in France in 2014 - made a preliminary ruling to alter a custody order in favour of Brad Pitt, thereby granting him joint custody of the couple's children.

Jolie argued in court, however, that because Judge Ouderkirk failed to "disclose multiple professional, business and financial relationships, ongoing during the course of the matter, with Pitt's counsel and their law firms", he was unable to be impartial. She won the matter in their ongoing legal battle and retained full custody of their children, while Pitt maintained visitation rights.

Now, Brad Pitt has requested a review of the California appellate court's ruling to disqualify the judge, reports E! News.

The actor's petition argues disqualifying the judge "effectively upended the constitutionally authorised temporary judging system in California", now throwing open "the door to disqualification challenges at any point during a case, even if the party raising the motion has long been on notice about the alleged grounds for disqualification."

Further, the petition states: "After more than four years of contentious litigation, every day of which has harmed the children and their father, an important and considered custody decision will be entirely undone as a result of an administrative error that is wholly unrelated to the merits of the custody dispute itself."

In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Jolie's attorney, Robert A. Olson, has since said: "The Court of Appeal unanimously refused to tolerate the ethical violations of the private judge who had heard custody matters, and correctly vacated that judge's orders.

"Mr. Pitt's counsel's petition to the California Supreme Court displays how they are clinging to this private judge who exhibited bias and refused statutorily required evidence. It is disturbing that in full knowledge of unethical behaviour, and having previously failed to disclose their new and ongoing financial relationships with him, Mr. Pitt's counsel would seek to reinstate the private judge.

"Ms. Jolie hopes Mr. Pitt will instead join with her in focusing on the children's needs, voices, and healing."   

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