HL spoke with a family attorney who explained why the actress could continue appealing to remove the private judge assigned to her ongoing custody case.
Angelina Jolie‘s appeals in her ongoing custody battle with Brad Pitt, 57, could go all the way to the Supreme Court, according to an expert. Since Aug. 2020, Angelina, 46, has been pushing to remove the private judge assigned to the custody case surrounding the exes’ five minor children; Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 13. Their eldest son, Maddox, 19, is legally an adult and no longer subject to the custody battle.
Sources confirmed to HollywoodLife in May that Judge John Ouderkirk, the judge who married Jolie and Pitt in 2014, tentatively granted the Moneyball actor joint custody. Since the ruling was made, Jolie turned to California’s Second District Court of Appeal to have Ouderkirk removed despite having initially picked him to rule over their case. And even if she loses, she could “appeal the appeal,” family law attorney Sabrina Shaheen Cronin, JD, MBA EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife.
“She can take this to the Supreme Court. She can appeal the appellate decision,” Cronin said. During the latest hearing on July 9, Angelina’s lawyers argued that Judge Ouderkirk was not impartial in the case and alleged that he was working on legal matters which involved Pitt’s lawyer. Brad’s lawyers lashed out at Angelina and alleged that she was using this issue as a “delaying tactic” in the custody case. “That’s what people do as a tactic to delay, delay, delay,” Cronin said. “If she does appeal it, then Pitt’s camp could file for a temporary order to give him some kind of parenting time. It could be a stall tactic.”
Cronin suggested that Angelina has “buyer’s remorse” and noted that she had already agreed to have Judge Ouderkirk rule over their case as part of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). “That’s why they’re saying that it’s a last-ditch attempt. They’re calling it a Hail Mary,” said Cronin. “That’s the problem. When you agree to do something in the court of law, in this case, it’s an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). They wanted the decision to be binding.”
The A-listers have been embroiled in a bitter custody battle since the Maleficent star filed for divorce nearly five years ago in September 2016. The former couple still hasn’t come to a finalized agreement on sharing custody of their kids and Angelina ultimately wants to reverse a decision made earlier this year which allows Brad to have joint custody.
“I think because [the judge] is ruling against her that now she is trying to appeal that decision. It’s kind of like when someone has a judgment, and they have buyer’s remorse and try to have it overturned. It’s very hard to overturn a court order. There are only a certain number of things to overturn an order and that is what she is trying to do,” said Cronin who noted that it’s unknown how often Brad sees his kids and how often he has parenting time.
No decision has been made and a judgement from the appellate court is still pending. Even if Angelina is successful in removing the judge, it’s not clear how it will affect which rulings would stand aside from the finalization of their divorce, according to Cronin who said, “The divorce is finalized. Their divorce was final. The divorce was legitimate.”