Brad Pitt Responds to Angelina Jolie's Request for Removal of Private Judge in Divorce Case
By Liz Calvario
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI
Brad Pitt has responded to Angelina Jolie's request to remove the private judge in their divorce case. In court documents obtained by ET, the actor accuses Jolie of attempting to stall their case ahead of their October child custody trial.
Earlier this month, Jolie filed a request to have Judge John W. Ouderkirk taken off her and Pitt's case, three years after he was assigned to oversee their divorce case. According to court docs obtained by People, the actress alleges that Ouderkirk "failed to make timely mandatory disclosures of ongoing business and professional relationships between himself” and Pitt’s attorneys. Jolie claims that the judge didn't inform her and her legal team of other divorce cases he was working on with Pitt's lawyers, which made him "biased," the magazine reports.
Pitt, on his end, claims that Ouderkirk "accepted additional new engagements involving opposing counsel during the pendency of this action," which he claims were "fully disclosed to Jolie." "And still she has never objected to his continued involvement in this proceeding until now," the docs states. "On the contrary, Jolie has stipulated three times to extend Judge Ouderkirk's appointment."
In the court docs, Pitt claims "Jolie filed her request to disqualify Judge Ouderkirk and in the process delay consideration of deposition testimony and other evidence. Unfortunately, the individuals hurt most by Jolie's transparently tactical gambit are the parties' own children, who continue to be deprived of a final resolution to these custody issues. Jolie's motions should there be denied."
Jolie's attorney, Samantha Bley DeJean tells ET in a statement: "It is unfortunate that Mr. Pitt's team has sought to intervene ahead of Judge Ouderkirk's response. One can only conclude that this is an attempt to obstruct or influence Judge Ouderkirk's answer. Any delay in these proceedings is due to their zealous attempt to create an unrecognized special exception for their client's benefit."
Additionally a source tells ET, "Angelina isn’t trying to delay the process -- as the court papers state, she is trying to resolve an issue with the judge."
The source adds that Pitt’s team was not required to respond to the filing -- the judge is.
However, a source close to Pitt tells ET, "It is unfortunate that Ms Jolie’s team is desperately trying to change a referee -- of their own choosing -- late in the 4th quarter to delay the end of an endless game because they are concerned that they might be losing."
These new filings come after it appeared that the pair was in a place where they were ready to co-parent. A source told ET in June, "Brad and Angelina have come a very long way and they're finally in a place where they both want to work together to raise their kids. They have no plans to reconcile and any communication between them is regarding their children's needs and future."