It is a win for Angelina Jolie after a California appeals court disqualified a private judge who was overlooking Angelina and Brad Pitt's divorce case. According to a news report in The Guardian, the second district court of appeal was in agreement with Jolie on Friday (July 23) that Judge John W Ouderkirk did not disclose business relationships with Brad's attorneys. According to the report, the court ruled, "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."
This has resulted in the custody fight over the couple's children starting all over again. The judge had already announced Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to be divorced but had separated the issues regarding the custody of their child. The Mr and Mrs Smith stars had also hired their own lawyers for more privacy in the case.
Angelina Jolie's attorneys had appealed after her request for disqualification of Judge John W Ouderkirk was declared too late by a lower court judge. The oral arguments in front of the appeals court that took place on July 9, had focused on which rules should be applied to private judges. According to the report, Angelina's attorney Robert Olsen had stated, "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. Matters that should have been disclosed were not disclosed."
The panel's ruling only applied to Judge John W Ouderkirk, but they also questioned whether such an arrangement should be allowed in California. The attorneys of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt did not have any comment on the ruling on an immediate basis. Talking about the former couple's case, Angelina and Brad were married for 12 years until Jolie filed for divorce in the year 2016. The two were officially declared divorced in the year 2019 in April after their respective lawyers called for a judgement that allows them to be declared single, while other matters like child custody and finances are pending.