Angelina Jolie’s attempt to have the judge removed in her divorce case from Brad Pitt has been denied. Presiding Judge John W. Ouderkirk will remain in place, according to a ruling on Nov. 16 by the Superior Court of California in Orange County, in paperwork obtained by PEOPLE. The ruling states that Angie’s move was “untimely,” because Ouderkirk revealed his involvement with Pitt’s attorney’s law firm before being given the former couple’s divorce case, and that Angelina has been aware of that fact for the past two years. HollywoodLife.com has reached out to reps for both Angelina and Brad for comment.
The 45-year-old actress sought to have Ouderkirk removed from overseeing her divorce case with the 56-year-old actor in paperwork filed on Aug. 7, 2020, where she claimed that the judge, “failed to make timely mandatory disclosures of ongoing business and professional relationships between himself” and attorneys for the Moneyball actor. Ouderkirk legally married the couple in 2014, though they had a formal family wedding ceremony at their chateau in the south of France.
Brad’s lawyers then called Angelina’s demands for a new judge “a thinly-veiled attempt by Jolie to delay the adjudication of long-pending custody issues in this case.” Brad has been seeking a 50-50 custody agreement with Angelina over the couple’s five minor children, but she has been fighting the actor on his request. The pair split in Sept. 2016, and are still going at it over custody of Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12. Eldest child Maddox is now 19 and a legal adult.
This is just the latest development in the ongoing divorce and custody battle, as Angelina’s attorney Priya Sopori filed a “Notice of Withdrawal of Attorney of Record” on Oct. 9 with the Los Angeles Superior Court. She had been working alongside Angie’s primary attorney Samantha Bley DeJean before quitting the case.
Top divorce attorney Raoul Felder of Stutman Stutman Lichtenstein & Felder told us at the time that Priya leaving the case seemed to be good news for Brad. “It tells me if I were Mr. Pitt I’d be very happy based on these court documents because there are not many things worse than this that could happen. It’s basically saying that something bad is happening in the petitioners’ case,” Felder explained. “Either she is simply not following the lawyer’s advice or there is some reason the lawyer just wants to get off the case.”