In response to the Salt actress’ lawyer’s claim that the judge overseeing the custody battle is ‘not impartial,’ an attorney for the ‘Ad Astra’ star slams the move as ‘unjust’ ‘delaying tactic.’
AceShowbiz –Angelina Jolie has pulled in what seems to be her desperate attempt to win in a lengthy custody battle with Brad Pitt. The celebrity exes’ lawyers met in a remote appellate court hearing on Friday, July 9 to argue about the actress’ bid to remove their private judge and start over their nearly-five-year legal battle.
Jolie’s previous request to remove Judge John W. Oudenkirk from the custody case was denied last November. During the latest appellate hearing, her lawyer Robert Olson argued that the judge was not impartial in the custody battle case, alleging that he was working on legal matters involving Brad’s lawyer.
“Until Ms. Jolie asked, what was going on was only known to the judge, the ARC and the opposing counsel … she was shocked that this was going on,” Olson said. “Ms. Jolie did not know anything that happened between counsel for Pitt and the judge.”
Pitt’s lawyer Theodore Boutrous fired back, claiming Jolie knew about the potential conflict all along. “Here in a child custody case that’s been going on for so long, the children are getting older,” he argued, “and to allow a delaying tactic like this would be extremely unjust.” He added, “There were no surprises. Ms. Jolie and her counsel knew about the relationship and the grounds.”
If Judge Oudenkirk is removed from the case, his latest ruling, which granted Pitt a joint custody over five of his six children with Jolie, would be void. The custody battle would start over and may continue for a long time, allowing more of the couple’s six children to reach adulthood at which point they can make their own choices about a relationship with their father.
Kelly Chang Rickert, a family law attorney who watched the remote hearing, believes Jolie may be “fighting a losing battle.” She told ET Online, “If Ouderkirk had sided with Angelina and granted her sole custody, she would never be filing this appeal; she would not challenge his ruling as biased.”
Calling the move “reaching,” Rickert added, “The only reason she’s challenging it is because she lost. I mean, she’s struggling, she’s reaching here.” She also noted that it’s not unusual in “bitter custody cases like this one” for the parties to keep fighting until the kids are grown.
“Because when the kids are grown, they’re outside the jurisdiction of the courts,” she explained. “Right now, they’re fighting because the courts can still rule on the kids. Once they’re 18, they’re on their own. They’re adults.”
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