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Angelina Jolie Upset Judge Won't Let Kids Testify in Custody Case

Actress alludes to domestic violence in new court filing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2021 3:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – Angelina Jolie criticized a judge who is deciding on child custody in her divorce with Brad Pitt, saying in a court filing that the judge refused to allow their children to testify, the AP reports. Jolie, who has sought to disqualify Judge John Ouderkirk from the divorce case, said in the filing Monday that he declined to hear evidence she says is relevant to the children's safety and well-being before issuing a tentative ruling. The documents don't elaborate on what that evidence may be. “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. The actress also said the judge “has failed to adequately consider” a section of the California courts code, which says it is detrimental to the best interest of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence.

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Her filing did not give details about what it was referring to, but her lawyers submitted a document under seal in March that purportedly offers additional information. Jolie sought a divorce in 2016, days after a disagreement broke out on private flight ferrying the actors and their children from France to Los Angeles. Pitt was accused of being abusive toward his then-15-year-old son during the flight, but investigations by child welfare officials and the FBI were closed with no charges being filed against the actor. Jolie's new filing says the judge has “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate,” citing a California code that says a child 14 or over should be allowed to testify if they want to. Three of Jolie and Pitt's six children are teenagers, 17-year-old Pax, 16-year-old Zahara, and 14-year-old Shiloh. The oldest, Maddox, is 19 and not subject to the custody decision. They also have 12-year-old twins, Vivienne and Knox.

(Read more Angelina Jolie stories.)

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