Angelina Jolie says her divorce judge refused to allow the Jolie-Pitt kids to testify

Angelina Jolie takes the kids out for sushi at Nobu

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce proceeding will turn five years old in September. From what we can see of the slow-moving divorce, it has been enormously contentious, mainly around the custody issues of their children. Although I’d be curious to learn if they’ve handled the financial aspects of their divorce, because I think that is still on-going as well. For years now, Brad and Angelina have been employing a private judge, Judge John Ouderkirk, to oversee their divorce proceedings. Last year, Angelina tried to have the judge kicked off the case because her lawyer discovered that Ouderkirk had been doing business with Pitt’s lawyers for years and Ouderkirk had failed to disclose that to the court. Ouderkirk fought the issue and refused to recuse himself from the case. And now that same judge is refusing to allow the Jolie-Pitt children to testify in court and Angelina is calling him out, yet again.

Angelina Jolie criticized a judge deciding on custody arrangements for her and Brad Pitt’s children during their divorce, saying in a court filing that the judge refused to allow their kids to testify. 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. 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.

Her 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.

In response to Jolie’s filing, Pitt’s attorneys said, “Ouderkirk has conducted an extensive proceeding over the past six months in a thorough, fair manner and reached a tentative ruling and order after hearing from experts and percipient witnesses.”

Pitt’s filing said the judge found Jolie’s testimony “lacked credibility in many important areas, and the existing custody order between the parties must be modified, per Mr. Pitt’s request, in the best interests of the children.” It says Jolie’s objections and further delays in reaching an arrangement would “work grave harm upon the children, who will be further denied permanence and stability.”

It’s not clear what the current custody arrangement is because the court seals most files. When the divorce process began, Jolie sought primary physical custody — meaning the children would live more than half the time with her — but changes have been made that have not been made public. Pitt sought joint custody.

Others close to Jolie say her family struggles have prompted her to take a more active role in changing the law’s approach to custody issues. “Ms. Jolie has been working privately for four and a half years to both heal her family and to fight for improvements to the system to ensure that other families do not experience what hers has endured,” Peter Harvey, an attorney and former attorney general of New Jersey who has been working with Jolie on policy issues, told The Associated Press.

Jolie has sought to disqualify Ouderkirk, a private judge she and Pitt chose to maintain their privacy, arguing that he has an improper business relationship with one of Pitt’s attorneys. She said in Monday’s filing that if the tentative custody decision is made final by Ouderkirk, she will appeal it.

[From Page Six]

So, Jolie’s filing says that the custody trial/hearing is a failure because Ouderkirk failed to allow the Jolie-Pitt children to testify about how they feel about their parents. Pitt’s response is that Jolie is just generally a liar. Yeah, this is a f–king mess and Ouderkirk should have recused himself last year. I’m curious as to what is contained in the sealed documents but I bet it’s horrific. Pitt does not want any of this going public, which is why he’s still ride-or-die for Ouderkirk, who is clearly partial to his main employer, the law firm representing Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt checks out of his Tribeca hotel

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Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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125 Responses to “Angelina Jolie says her divorce judge refused to allow the Jolie-Pitt kids to testify”

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  1. Sinéad says:

    Maddox is over 18 though so I think he could *easily* give an interview to a magazine or newspaper or someone if he wanted his side out there. It doesn’t have to be in court does it?

    • Noki says:

      Maybe there is a gag order on the kids?

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      The judge would not be able to consider that as evidence in the divorce. Only evidence admitted in court can be considered in rendering his decision.

  2. Noki says:

    My eyes water thinking how much this has so far cost.

  3. pottymouth pup says:

    this is not smart on Pitt’s part. If the kids really want little to do with him and he keeps putting on the pressure/playing games, it’s only a matter of time until they are old enough to rebuke him publicly. Under the circumstances, they may feel compelled to do so

  4. Golly Gee says:

    Wow. This is unbelievable. I’m glad she has the opportunity to appeal. At the very least it will delay the children having to spend more time with Brad. I’m dying to see those sealed documents.

  5. Lily P says:

    I cannot fathom how they can say it’s a fair trial when they are not accepting all of her evidence nor the teenaged children’s contributions. So of course there’s not going to be a credible story because you’re not allowing the whole story to be heard. Imagine silencing your own children to protect your image – if he’s innocent then there’s nothing to hide and he should welcome their insight.

    • Sidewithkids says:

      Exactly Lily P. Plus, this corrupt judge didn’t take into consideration any of the domestic violence history that BP did. So he’s not listening to any of the teens testimony (which by California law code judges do listen to) and he ignored relevant evidence.

      Angie is still trying to get this dude off the case b/c it’s clear he’s in BP’s pockets.

    • Ronaldinho says:

      Kids from 12 onward in the UK can have their wishes considered
      Too often contact is forced upon children who have endured the often complex trauma and PTSD of domestic abuse
      It is disgraceful that this is happening. All his blonde whote rich man privilege makes him believe his behaviours didn’t count
      Looks like this judge agrees

    • DenTom says:

      Not allowing children to testify doesnt necessarily mean the children havent had opportunities to make statements that are considered as evidence. Having to publicly testify about your parents under oath is tramautic. Preventing children from having to testify is often considered in the best interest of the child.

  6. BearcatLawyer says:

    But…but…this is not that unusual in family court. Judges tend to rely on the testimony and evidence provided by physicians, psychologists, therapists, and other professionals rather than getting formal witness testimony from the kids. Judges recognize that kids can be influenced by their parents, and in cases involving allegations of abuse or alienation, there really is nothing to be gained by putting the kids through the trauma of testifying. Plus, kids under the age of 18 legally cannot swear to the truth of their own statements. It is not impossible to put a child on the stand as a witness, but judges are mindful of the fact that their testimony may not be weighted the same as an adult who is sworn to tell the truth.

    Side note: I saw First They Came for my Father yesterday on Netflix. Angelina should stick to acting. Directing is not her forte AT ALL.

    • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

      Are you using Parental Alienation as the basis of this?

    • Astrid says:

      I got divorced in Michigan a few years ago. The judge talked to my kids in his chamber, not in front of the Court. The boys were tweens at the time.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        This is very common. It spares the child the pressure and trauma of having to testify before both parents, their lawyers, and other court personnel. I noticed specifically that Jolie’s attorneys keep referring to the judge refusing to accept “evidence” and “input” from the kids. This does NOT mean he has not talked to them AT ALL. It does suggest the judge is unwilling to allow them to testify on the stand or accept documentary evidence from the kids like diary entries or pictures they may have drawn when they were younger, likely because he already has plenty of psychological reports and information about Brad’s supervised visits with them. The prejudicial value of the kids’ testimony and documentary evidence almost certainly outweighs its probative value because they are minors and not absolutely sworn to tell the truth.

      • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

        Parental Alienation Syndrome was invented by a pedophile who had no training in child psychology or adult psychology.
        It’s used by the system to take away rights from usually mothers and children.
        Your defense of it is disgusting.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        @Queen Meghan’s Hand – not sure where your are getting your information from. Parental Alienation Syndrome was first described and studied by a psychiatrist who was not a pedophile but a serious academic. While PAS is not a recognized DSM diagnosis, attachment disorders involving one parent’s excessive influence or atypical behaviour are recognized.

      • Jules says:

        Whaaaat? Parental Alienation was NOT invented by a pedophile. It is insane how anything someone makes up is considered true these days.

      • Snazzy says:

        @QueenMeghan’s Hand please stop making shit up just because you feel like it. What you are spouting here is false, and dangerous

      • lucy2 says:

        That seems like the best way to go about it. The kids get to share their experience if they choose to, but don’t have the pressure of a courtroom setting, questions from attorneys, etc.

    • Renata says:

      That was my take too. It’s been 5 years of this fracture and witnessing their mothers distress, the kids may not have the purest recollections. The Rashamon effect is real. I can see why the judge would rely on the therapists notes or the kids contemporaneous statements. I wonder if Angelina means that the kids weren’t asked what they want to happen? In which case, the judge may be thinking that their attachments have been so wrecked over the past five years that it’s best to go with the doctors assessment of what can be rebuilt rather than how they presently feel. Either way, I know it’s a very controversial concept but I think the judge is guarding his ruling against suspected parental alienation.

      • Sidewithkids says:

        Lol. You all and this parental alientation stuff. Doesn’t exist. No way, you can make six kids do what you want. Maybe 2 or 3 but not six. Stop w/ that and learn the true history of why a parent uses PA against another parent.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        @SidewithKids – parental alienation does exist and is recognized by competent doctors and therapists. There are specific CPT and ICD modifier codes that therapists use in cases involving alienation.

      • Renata says:

        I didn’t say whether I support the parental alienation angle or not, just that it appears to be what the judge is guarding against.

        Now speaking from my own life experience, I was very fortunate parent-wise but I do remember that in my friend group we frequently influenced each others perceptions of other girls and even how we read neutral events with those girls. In-group psychological influence works on millions at a time, there’s no reason it wouldn’t work on 6 kids. Especially since their world was falling apart and they were more likely leaning on the oldest who did have reason to fall out with his dad. That’s not to say that the kids have been alienated but just noting the probability.

      • Winechampion says:

        I’m a child of a divorce and nasty custody battle, and that ish is extremely traumatic. I had to speak to a mediator about my parents, and just THAT was excruciating. I can’t imagine being made to testify in court about my parents. Damaging for life.

    • SurelyNot says:

      Eh, I thought Unbroken was decent. By the Sea was navel gazing and awful.
      Honestly, her acting isn’t that great either, she is a tad bit wooden and I never lose sight that it’s her. I love, love the Tomb Raider and Maleficient movies and I’ll watch Salt if it’s on…otherwise meh.

      I am a fan though, I’m always rooting for her.

      • Renata says:

        By the Sea was delicious to me. Just so bad in it’s “I’m so deep” pretensions that it became good. And I know she said it wasnt a key hole look into their marriage but then turns out that Brad was a heavy drinker irl and that Angelina was irl contemplating the link between reproductivity and womanhood (culminating in a pre-emptive full hysterectomy). That movie is more an examination of their issues that she thought or admitted.

    • bus says:

      Another aspect to that is that the particular events the kids would be testifying about occurred more than 5 years ago. I don’t know much about their kids or their ages but for some of those kids, I’d imagine 5 years is significant.

      • Sidewithkids says:

        Lol. You don’t think they can remember events from 5 years ago?

      • Renata says:

        5 years is a very long time for children. And even when they remember, you have to wonder whether hearing the older kids discuss it has implanted their memories

      • Golly Gee says:

        It has been proven that memory can be very unreliable and can be changed and created later on. I’m not saying that that’s the case here, but it can’t be counted on.
        I remember very clearly riding in a taxi as achild with my mother from the airport during a bad snowstorm and the taxi going off the road. A few years ago I was talking about this with my mother and sister and they insisted that I was not there, and that it had happened to the two of them. So I must have remembered the story when they recounted it and somehow it became my experience.

      • Ronaldinhio says:

        It depends on the meaning the child was able to make of the trauma, if it was repeated, if they had people to talk to, places and people of safety.
        We really have zero idea of the childhood these children had.
        Rich or wealthy, no matter, if their father was an abusive drunk or controlling, petty, changeable- they will not have been adequately shielded from that.
        Saying 5 yrs is a long time for a child does not recognise the non linear impact of trauma. Some adults are still overcoming childhood trauma.

        We keep assuming this was one incident. It is clear from the length of court proceedings and depth of family support and therapy required that this is far from the case.

      • bus says:

        @sidewithkids – I think they may not remember things from 5 years ago with a level of accuracy that a judge can rely on.

        @Ronaldinhio – I agree. Saying it was 5 years ago and they may not remember is a simplification. Actually unraveling what happened, the impact and the future risk might take more than a simple Q&A between a judge and the child. It would be better to have the children work with someone specialized in childhood trauma and have that person or persons provide their opinion.

      • Eenie Googles says:

        @sidewithkids “When I was seven” to a twelve year old seems like a lifetime ago. It’s a whole other mindset and yes, it seems very distant. You either don’t remember being twelve, or don’t want to admit it.

    • Jellybean says:

      This makes a lot of sense. There must be some protection from child alienation.

      • Irene says:

        Is it really child alienation or listening to the children? Things were obviously NOT good heading into the fateful flight. Whatever happened scarred them and unless I am mistaken, they are STILL seeing a therapist?

        The tentative decision is probably shared custody of the minor kids. Yet if they are still fearing spending more time with Brad then that is something that needs to be looked into.

        If the previous custody arrangements were working for the children (Angie having custody with Brad getting visitation) then surely leave it as that? The only person it was hurting was Brad and his ego.

    • Sidewithkids says:

      @bearcatlawyer I don’t think PA exists in this case. I think BP wanted something to use against AJ b/c he didn’t like looking bad in the court of public opinion. Plus men have used this tool against mothers for years in custody cases to hide from the bad stuff they are doing.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        Reread my comments above. I did NOT say this case involved parental alienation. I was using it as an example of situations where judges might be loath to subject a child to being called as a witness.

        Regardless, the law in most states prohibits judges from limiting parents’ rights or access to their children except in limited circumstances. Most family codes specifically state that both parents have duties towards their kids, including having relationships with them. If Brad wants to play a more active role in his children’s lives, he can ask to do so. Absent evidence that he continues to be a danger to himself or others – and taking into account that the kids are not that little anymore – Angelina’s unwavering insistence on sole custody just will not fly.

      • Sidewithkids says:

        @Renata They didn’t make statements at the time it happened to a judge b/c there was not custody case going on. They want to make their statements now b/c they do remember. They want their voices to be heard and since the California courts allow 14 year olds and older to tesify, they want to do so. This judge will not allow Pax, Z, or Shiloh to testify even tho Pax is 17, Z is 16 and Shiloh is about to turn 15. They want to. Maddox did testify but the judge is not taking that into consideration like he should. Also, they aren’t just tesifying for themselves they are going to say something about the nature of BP’s parenting that would also help the twins not be forced to see him.

        Maddox isn’t in this but I’m sure he wants to protect his younger brothers and sisters. He cares about them and is listening to their wants and needs.

    • Hannah says:

      Is it usual for a judge to actually work for and receive payments from one party’s lawyers / law firm? How is that not a conflict of interest? It is tough for me to take this judge seriously knowing that background.

      • Sidewithkids says:

        That’s what I don’t get. Why wouldn’t he recuse himself?

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        The trend in most states is to have people attempt to resolve family issues like divorces and custody collaboratively outside of court as much as possible. In Texas, this means essentially mandatory pre-trial mediations, which can be overseen by a lawyer or judge certified as a mediator. If the parties agree to settle their differences in mediation and hammer out an agreement, family court judges generally will uphold these deals in their final judgments except in very rare circumstances. The private judge system in CA appears to be a similar method, but both Angelina and Brad are paying for his services, not solely Brad.

        Again, the fact that the judge had handled previous divorce cases involving Brad’s lawyers is not that shocking. There are not that many private judges capable of dealing with a high dollar, high conflict divorce like this one. Angelina and her attorneys knew this pool was small when this case started. I think they are just pissed because judge Ouderkirk seems to be following the law carefully and recognizing that while Brad may not be a saint, that does not necessarily mean that he should lose the majority of his parental rights.

        Any family lawyer will tell you that sole custody with limited or no visitation is almost impossible to win in court except in very limited circumstances. Family court and child protection systems place a high priority on the preservation of relationships and both parents bearing responsibility for their kids. Angelina would have been better off asking for a graduated, supervised visitation plan leading to 50/50 custody and then allowing Brad to screw it up, thereby giving the judge good reasons to deny joint custody and limit future visitation. By coming out guns a-blazing for sole custody, Angelina and her attorneys are being wildly unrealistic and likely come across to the judge as being uncooperative. IMHO this is not a winnable strategy.

      • Sunny says:

        I haven’t looked into the specifics of this matter. Generally speaking, a firm specializing in high profile family disputes likely goes through this process privately quite often, necessitating the use of private judges / arbitrators / mediators. It makes sense that they would have a small pool they choose from and use often. There aren’t always that many people available, qualified, and so on. And once you’ve had good experiences with one, meaning you thought they were fair, had the right expertise in the subject matter, fees were reasonable, you are likely to use them again. Usually at the start of the process one party or both will recommend several names, the firms will either have experience or ask around about names, and then agree on one after confirming availability. It strikes me as a play for public opinion to, years in, accuse a judge of bias or not disclosing what is common practice- repeat involvement in cases by a firm. It makes sense to continue proposing a judge / mediator / arbitrator you’ve had positive experiences with and it doesn’t mean you’re on their payroll. But again that’s broadly speaking not specific to this matter. Just an FYI.

      • Twin falls says:

        @Bearcatlawyer – “Any family lawyer will tell you that sole custody with limited or no visitation is almost impossible to win in court except in very limited circumstances. Family court and child protection systems place a high priority on the preservation of relationships and both parents bearing responsibility for their kids.”

        This is 100 percent true. Anyone who hasn’t actually been through a custody case has no idea what it’s really like, what the outcome realistically will be.

      • lucy2 says:

        Thanks Bearcat. I’ve always figured that as well, it’s a small pool, of course there would be overlapping cases with a handful of judges, and probably only a small pool of high powered family law attorneys. The “undisclosed business” always made it sound shadier than it is.
        Trying to have the judge removed from the case was a risky move, as is whatever is happening now with the kids testimony. I hope it doesn’t end up hurting her in the long run. I’m not really a fan of hers, but she’s clearly the better parent and the kids want to be with her.
        Early on for the kids’ sake, I’d hoped they be able to all be on good terms and have healthy relationships again, but given Pitt’s media manipulations and the continuous legal fight, it doesn’t seem possible.

    • Snazzy says:

      I see what you’re saying @bearcatlawyer, and agree. As someone who was brainwashed against one parent by the other and didn’t figure out the whole game until her 40s (!), I can see the judges point. I hope this isn’t the case with these kids of course, but when a relationship gets messy, you just never know.

    • superashes4 says:

      I disagree.

      In a typical case, I don’t see anything wrong with a Judge considering the child’s desires on where they want to live if they are 12 or older, if they choose to so state, and don’t see the benefit of forcing public testimony which is a difficult thing to require from any child.

      That being said, I had a friend who had an ex husband that was physically abusive of her as well as her children for years. They divorced and she kept the kids 100% of the time because he had no desire to see them. However, in my home state of Tennessee, when you seek public benefits there is (or at least was) a requirement that the state seek back child support to compensate for the benefit. She didn’t realize this, sought a benefit, and the child support process started, after which her ex manipulated a court appointed special advocate into believing my friend had poisoned her children against him, all to get 50/50 custody so he would have to pay no child support to her. No matter what she did, hearings and filings and so on and so forth, nothing would change the CASA’s mind and the original Judge refused to hear testimony from the kids or to appoint a new CASA. Ultimately, she ended up with full custody of them again, but not because the system worked. Rather, he happened to be caught severely beating the youngest child and a police officer just happened to come upon them. He then lost custody as a result of that criminal proceeding.

      Those children had to live with his abuse for years, and were only rescued right before the oldest turned 18 (who had multiple suicide attempts).

      Child testimony is critical where there is a credible allegation of abuse, and I absolutely do not think a claim of parental alienation should foreclose child testimony under those circumstances. The risk is simply to great, and the systems designed to look out for at-risk children is simply too flawed.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Superashes4, I haven’t kept up with this. So, other than knowing they were divorcing and that it was messy, I didn’t keep up with the facts. You say that “{T]hose children had to live with his abuse for years, and were rescued right before the oldest turned 18 (who had multiple suicide attempts).” Are those facts or are they speculation? I think it’s important with high profile people to remember what you read in a magazine may bear no relation to what is reported to the Court and proven. Five years is a long time and I would hope that the children are in therapy. This divorce is going to be public and harmful to the children. I believe the reports from the psychologists (over five years) would be of great benefit to the Judge. I would assume the children are telling the truth to the psychologists, don’t you? I understand that you believe that BP should not have contact with the children. Is that forever? Is there anything that you believe would change that? Also, are you saying that the oldest child would never have tried to commit suicide if BP had never been in his life? I couldn’t quite understand what you meant.

      • Kebbie says:

        @Saucy That was part of their story about their friend’s experience, not about the Jolie-Pitt kids.

      • superashes says:

        Thank you Kebbie. And in case there is any lingering doubt, nothing about that story was speculation. It 100% happened exactly as stated. The point of my story is that a claim of parental alienation shouldn’t be enough, on its own, for a Judge to refuse to listen to the children where there is a credible allegation of abuse, even with independent parties involved to analyze and make decisions, because even those independent parties can make flawed decisions.

    • Pocket Litter says:

      @BearcatLawyer, thank you for your cogent post.

    • Natters says:

      Correct. If a judge suspects parental alienation in a case they tend to rely more on third party professional and their assessment.

    • alsf says:

      The CA code has the court take the opinion of children 14 and older into account when establishing custody. That does necessarily mean testifying in court, but children that age are allowed to submit statements etc. This judge would need a reason to exclude it.

      As I understand this case, it is being settled under CA law, so the Judge should not have refused to consider the older kids testimony, in whatever form they choose to give it. He has discretion on how much weight to give it, but it generally should be admitted.

    • AnneSurely says:

      This. He just isn’t having them testify. He can still meet with them, and likely has.

      Also, harping on the recusal is shifty. If a judge had to recuse him or herself bc I had appeared before them before, in any venue, there would be no private judges available to my clients.

  7. Soupie says:

    Ah, the L.A. legal mafia. Glad I’m out of the good ole white boy mess. Take your California Club, Jonathan Club and all the rest of your privileged little white boy clubs and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

    Ain’t just L.A. either. We all know it happens everywhere. I feel for this situation. This is clearly a power play and it makes me sick.

  8. Pinkytoe says:

    They should just have gone to family court publicity be damned considering all the leaking anyway.

    • Renata says:

      This isn’t leaking though. It’s their reps issuing statements. I think the seals have worked pretty well. I suspect that their marriage was like Johnny Depp’s and Amber Heards with one clear villain but where the other doesn’t come out looking great either. That’s the only reason I can think of that both want to keep it private and just selectively release info that helps their respective case.

      • Pinkytoe says:

        Fair point. It just seems like maybe would have been done by now but you are right they might both have dinged their reputations (one more than the other probably lol). I just feel bad for the kids with how long and public this whole thing has been.

  9. Myra says:

    I would have hated if a judge would have ordered me to live with my dad when I was younger. He was an alcoholic with rage issues. Thankfully, he was also an absentee parent so he never cared enough to fight for custody. However, I see this as a lost case for Angelina. If this is how their private judge has decided, the ideal way forward is to accept the court decision. I understand that it might not be what the kids want, but a drawn out fight probably doesn’t help the situation. Now, I don’t know what the nature of the abuse was as it’s all sealed but maybe he has worked on himself. People with substance abuse can change. One can hope. I’d be terrified to send my kids to live with an abuser though.

    • Ocho says:

      I hope you had another parent or grandparent who had your back. All kids deserve a healthy, kind adult. x

      • Myra says:

        Thank you, I did but it was complicated. Generational trauma and pain are very real issues that even good parents/kind people have to contemplate with. We unwittingly or unknowingly put our children through unnecessary trauma because we believe we are keeping them safe and on a straight path.

    • February-Pisces says:

      I think the worst thing is brad is probably only fighting for his kids just for the sake of his image, and not for the children’s well-being. I don’t think he cares to spend more time with them, but he has to beat Angelina in the court of public opinion and will do whatever it takes. Sad for the kids.

      • lucy2 says:

        After the past few years and all the shenanigans, I feel the same.
        I know someone else going through this too, the ex is fighting for 50/50 solely so he doesn’t have to pay support. He was very uninvolved with the kids up to this point, the wife/mom handled all of it. But public image and $$$ make people do weird things.

      • Golly Gee says:

        These are my thoughts too. The way he has smeared their mother in the press over the last several years shows the lack of regard he has for his children. He has also remained silent wihen others have criticized the children on social media. He has thrown them all under the bus for the sake of his image which is clear evidence of his total self-centeredness. This makes it that much harder to believe that he wants to be a caring father to them, but rather that he wants to look like a caring father in the eyes of the public.

      • Dierski says:

        I have that feeling too- like since he’s come this far, his huge ego just won’t let him stop. He keeps smearing her and being awful and she just keeps it classy and in the courts. I also feel that Angelina’s divorce strategy is coming from the exact opposite place in her heart, where she just wants to shield and protect the children as their mother, and at all costs, no compromises. That was all I could think about during my divorce as well. I don’t think she’ll stop her momentum or be intimidated by anything ever becoming public (because she is a good person without abuse to hide), and on the other side we have Brad with confidential, sealed documents in divorce court about his treatment of his kids. He’s all over the place with this, and its crazy how he’s still largely portrayed as a good, sympathetic person out in the public eye.

        To think how it’s *this* hard for a mega-star like Angelina Jolie to escape an abusive marriage, and then to still not be taken seriously as a woman, mom, human by a judge against a toxic husband, just because that husband is uber-famous BP. I salute her for fighting the good fight publicly and unashamed as a woman getting out. I hope her example is visible enough to inspire more women living quietly in abusive relationships to get out and seek help. Depending where you live and your situation, the courts don’t always make it easy to leave.

      • Poisonella says:

        Always liked her- him? Meh. He let her take the fall for his marriage ending and leaving his wife.

      • February-Pisces says:

        Brad will continue to get away with sh*t no matter what. Angelina is the one who usually gets trashed mostly because people think she’s some sort of succubus who lured brad away from his perfect wife using her lady parts. I was just reading the comments in the daily mail and as predicted they are trashing Angelina to hell.

        One day soon the kids will be able to speak for themselves and confirm he’s the trash that he is.

        Also I side eye Jen Anniston for her public displays with this assh*le. I think she was recently gushing about how great he is. These two both just use each other for publicity and it makes me massively lose respect for Jen for giving him the time of day.

  10. Manda says:

    So I just googled “private judge,” never having heard of it before. The American bar association defines it as a neutral party, usually a retired judge, the parties agree to. I’m guessing bc she already agreed, that’s why she can’t get another one? But that makes no sense, bc they also already showed he had a conflict of interest. Is recusal one of those things that is 100% judge’s discretion? When I clerked, my judge was very careful to avoid the appearance of impropriety

    Also, he could talk to the kids in chambers, I feel like that’s a thing. If the law says older kids have a say, then they have a right, IMO

  11. Serena says:

    Disgusting men, both Pitt and the “fair” judge.

  12. Oh_Hey says:

    Yeah this is mess and I think Angie is really only fighting for the little ones at this point. The older kids voted with their feet a long time ago. Brad looks bad because the kids seem sti want nothing to do with him and the judge situation is SHADY to anyone who knows anything about the law and conflicts of interest. Also it looks like he only wants the white bio-kids which even if it isn’t true is how this is going to appear.

    Angie is just trying to protect her youngest, as she should, but unfortunately because it’s been so long with this case Brad is getting what he wants out of this fight. Angelina looks like Maeda (the Greek one not the other one) even though brad is really an abusive drunken mess. I’m team Angie forever but at this point I’m mostly team kids. They don’t deserve this.

  13. Erica says:

    Has anyone listened to the podcast Real Crime Profile? They cover Allen v farrow and touch on how screwed up the courts are. Turns out parental alienation is not a real thing. The guy who dreamed it up also thought that pedophilia was not a real thing. But it become so commonplace twisted that now all men have to do is say that and presto, the woman is crazy and turned her kids against him. The other thing no one ever seems to mention is how hard it would be to get a kid to lie. By nature kids are honest and it’s hard for them to lie consistently and convincingly.

    • Soupie says:

      Wait just a damn minute. Parental alienation is a very, VERY real thing. Just because it hasn’t happened to you or perhaps anyone you know doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      • Lily P says:

        Parental alienation is like you said a very real thing, but so is trauma and fear from a domestic violence setting. It doesn’t eradicate the other. Laying a physical hand on your child, being absent, and having alcohol addictions (to which he or his team has admitted) will all also contribute to the alienation of yourself as a parent. Both sides have alleged abusive behaviours and they remain allegations in the court of public opinion, but there’s kids at the centre of it who regardless deserve to have their voices heard if they so wish.

      • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

        Parental Alienation Syndrome does not exist. A parent can attempt to alienate their child from the other parent but as a syndrome, a psychological diagnosis, it does not exist. It was invented by a pedophile who was not a psychologist but a forensic examiner who testified frequently in cases. His paper was not rooted in any scientific method (it is truly bullpucky) but became a widely used tool by judges to disadvantage parents reporting abuse by the other parent.

      • Jules says:

        @Queen Meghan- you are flat out making shit up. Look it up, now. Seriously.

    • Kebbie says:

      Parental alienation isn’t really about getting kids to lie though. Isn’t it usually more of one parent convincing and manipulating kids into believing negative things about the other parent? I’m sure sometimes the kids see the truth, but I think usually they just come to adopt the same opinions.

      ETA: I’m speaking generally here, not in reference to this case or the Farrow/Allen case.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      Google parental alienation syndrome please. It was first described and studied by a genuine psychiatrist and serious academic, not a pedophile. The reason this BS keeps getting trotted out as fact is because Dr. Gardner made nuanced statements about it being important to recognize that pedophilia, ephabaphilia, incest, and other deviant sexual behaviours exist and are part of the human experience. He made it absolutely clear that he considered them abominable and would never condone them but that to avoid acknowledging, studying, and treating them was foolish. His point was always that there must be ways to reduce the secretive nature of these practices to allow doctors like him to stop them from happening and/or learn how to better treat victims. To this day, it is almost impossible to get meaningful funding or a reasonable sample size of subjects to study things like pedophilia in the real world. That scares me a little. What we do not know can hurt us.

      • Jules says:

        Thank you for this. Some of these comments are bordering on conspiracy thinking.

      • Snazzy says:

        I second Jules’ thank you. Some of these comments are getting ridiculous

      • court says:

        Have you read Dr. Gardner’s work? It’s junk science, which is why PAS has never been recognized by the APA (or anyone else ever). He also advocated against mandated reporter laws. Women aren’t believed and children aren’t as safe because of this whack job.

      • ReginaGeorge says:

        @ Jules,

        Seriously. Sounding like stuff off of a Qanon board!

  14. Maliksmama says:

    Family law is the absolute worst in which to specialize. Too much emotion is involved because everyone wants to inflict the most damage possible to the other.

    Too bad Jolie and Pitt can’t sit down and have a private convo and come to an agreement because the kids are suffering. Unless Jolie has concrete evidence that Pitt’s abused those kids, she’s not going to get primary custody. Her attorney should’ve strongly suggested mediation.

    And having the kids take the stand is going to make this matter a million times worse, because Pitt will accuse her of alienating the kids. Which will just prolong the agony.

    Pray for the kids folks.

    • MF1 says:

      Thank you for the levelheaded take. Brad seems like the worse parent, but both of them have handled this case very poorly. And barring extreme circumstances, kids should not be testifying in court against their parents. I can’t believe that Angelina apparently wants them to.

    • damejudi says:

      I completely agree. Custody agreements as written are rarely how they’re actually lived post-divorce. My son asked to live with his dad at age 15 b/c dad had a new girlfriend (and she had a very young daughter), and they were doing lots of stuff together. My son said to me, “I don’t want to miss out,” so Il agreed that he could live there.

      It was such a tough decision to live with, but as the adult in charge of my relationship with my son, I know it was right. And no one went to court or made it hard for the child.

    • Christina says:

      I disagree. Maybe with normal people, but in high conflict divorces with kids where abuse is alleged, the courts stay involved to protect the kids if one parent is a problem. Judges try to treat both parents equally in court, but the psychological documents reported by the kids’ therapists are what count.

      If Jolie has filed this, she wants the kids voices to be heard by the judge, but he doesn’t have to listen to them. My daughter wanted to testify when she was 11 and her dad had convinced her that I was abusive. Her testimony would have been at the hight of his alienation of my kid from me, so she would have would have testified against me. The judge removed her from him when she was 12 using the police. The judge allowed her to testify at 16. By this time, he’d emotionally abused her, attempted to kill her, and she had had years of therapy. I’d maintained restraining orders since she was about 8 years old.

      Sometimes, when you are dealing with an abuser, there is no way to stay out of court. I was there for over a decade. He didn’t want to raise our child together. He wanted to destroy me, so he went after our baby. He’s a vexatious litigant in our state and we have a 99-year restraining order. He’s been in prison since. When she was 12, people thought it was me “not trying to get along” with him, and lots of folks saying that it was because we weren’t working hard enough at it. He had never hit me, but I left him for being cruel. What was REALLY happening was that he had to be diagnosed as a narcissistic sociopath, and he was during the court process. It took a LOT of money, YEARS in court, and YEARS in therapy.

      • Golly Gee says:

        Wow Christina, i’m so sorry that you and your child had to go through this. I know you’ve commented a bit about this before, but the details you’re sharing are gut wrenching. Having a child with someone puts you in such a vulnerable position if the other parent Is vindictive. You end up tied to that person for life or at the very least until the child becomes an adult.
        I woman I know was married to a physically abusive man and they had two daughters. When she finally left him, he took the two little girls and drove down the highway and intentionally veered in front of an oncoming truck. Fortunately the girls were OK and even more fortunately he died. So she was free and clear of him. She couldn’t even attend the funeral because she was afraid she would break out laughing.

  15. Tataro says:

    Maddox is the actual victim here, but the media is blaming Maddox and Angelina for tarnishing Brad’s image. Being a rich white man can get you really far in life, no matter who you abuse.

    The judge is pretty much saying he is shutting up Angelina and the kids. This will not stand well with Angie, she’s a fighter, especially for her kids and for their rights.

    Brad is fighting hard for this too and it’s not about the custody. There must be some hard evidence that he’s really trying to keep private.

    Where’s the leaks when you need it?

  16. Enis says:

    A divorce trial should not be in old enough to go to kindergarten.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I’m glad it is, the youngest children are much more able to advocate for themselves and understand what is dangerous behaviour

    • cdnKitty says:

      Mine’s about to hit pre-school so i hear you but also @Ronaldinhio is right about letting the littlest ones grow up a bit.

  17. Ty says:

    California family law attorney here, family code section 3044 is rebuttable (the code she sites). Typically, where domestic violence has been found the other parent can take anger management classes and that is enough to rebut it. Since five years has passed and I’m assuming Pitt has been taken some classes, the law would give him joint legal and physical even if the kids don’t see him 50 percent of the time.

    • Leigh says:

      That’s disgusting! No anger management class is enough to change a batterer. They are terrible parents by their very nature. They have no problem managing their anger, either, because they can easily switch from rage toward their victim to mr nice guy in front of the cops/judge/whoever in order to make the victim look like a liar. They have a problem with their victim’s justified anger, not their own anger. Family court is so backwards. Abusers will never make good parents and they should stop pretending some classes will change that. How many more children need to be traumatized or even die at the hands of a vengeful abuser before this issue is taken seriously?!

    • Blues clues says:

      Well Ty family law says DV doesn’t matter if u take a class. If I read a statement correctly this is why she is sticking her feet in and will try and change that law in the near future. And for what it’s worth neither of them will lose fans or clout. But it’s a shame Pitt did what he did and is trying to hide. I think he sees the kids a great deal already. Just wants the 50/50 title.
      One thing she will accomplish is exposing LA law skeeze and greed.
      I disagree about this damaging the kids. It will make them stronger. And for people saying the judge didn’t talk them or listen to them was because of a memory lapse, u need a Whoopin! Lol that is the silliest thing I ever heard. They are teenagers.
      The judge is angry Angie outed him period and I’m quite sure she knew CA would be hard to get sole custody. I would have given up but not Jolie.
      And Leigh is right. We live in a rich white mans world so everyone else can kick rocks.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      Behavioural change programmes can help for dv or IPV. If the person wishes to change, accepts responsibility etc
      Anger management programmes are contra indicated as often it provides batterers with new tools to exert power and control over their victims
      My concern with Pitt was he immediately mea culpa’d a drinking problem – a typical batterer’s excuse. It wasn’t me, it was the substance….
      Now if he truly was an alcoholic or had substance misuse issues and he got help, excellent
      It doesn’t change the choices he made to be abusive or the permissions he gave himself.
      It is on him to show that growth and make things feel safe for his family.

      • EliseM says:

        The one thing PItt has not done, that we know of, is apologize to whomever for whatever happened on that plane. if he had owned it straight away, and was remorseful, those kids and Angie would work with him in mending the family unit. I do not believe she is a vengeful person. She has seen too much of what loss looks like for kids around the world to want that for her children. However, I think she has every right to fight for their safety. It’s her responsibility as their mom. Just like you said, it is his job to do the work so those kids feel safe.

    • Christina says:

      TY, that’s true. It was terrifying to know that my ex could access her after anger management, and our case was in California. If the abuser keeps abusing, the judge listens to the psychological testimony and no amount of anger management matters. My daughter had a court appointed attorney who saw red flags: he would not let her communicate in private with her attorney. In my case, complete custody was taken from him and he had visitation only for parental reunification, but the judge didn’t allow her to be in the room with him until she was ready . She never was, and she was never forced to do it. He isn’t allowed to get near us anymore. It took about 12 years in court.

  18. Leigh says:

    You can guarantee the kids don’t want to be around Brad Pitt. That’s a nightmare and if Angelina Jolie can’t keep her kids safe in family court there is very little hope for the rest of us. I’m currently trying to modify my abusers access because he got physical with his current partner during his parenting time and scared sick that the judge won’t care.

    • Yawnho says:

      You could be a drug user with mental health issues and you would still be forced to let your ex see your kid if they desire. They could be mentally abusive and that’s totally ok as long as the ex wants to see their kid. At this point can’t Angelina ask for a mental evaluation of brad and go for custody arrangements based on that (and the kids wishes) from a psychiatrist? Then negotiate it from there?

  19. Grant says:

    This is not uncommon in family law. In Texas, judges really do not like conferring with children in any circumstances. When the kiddos are under 12, it’s completely discretionary, meaning most judges refuse to speak with kids b/c they do not want to involve them in the litigation.

  20. candy says:

    I don’t think kids should be involved, period. If the adults can’t behave like adults, then by all means drag it out.

  21. Blues clues says:

    The problem with all of this is people don’t care until something happens. It’s hard to win that battle but I will expect Angelina to inform and educate and try to get these laws changed. Plus I really hope she at exposes his dirt. All in all
    Pitt is all image and HW we know this.

  22. Pocket Litter says:

    @bearcatlawyer said: “By coming out guns a-blazing for sole custody, Angelina and her attorneys are being wildly unrealistic and likely come across to the judge as being uncooperative. IMHO this is not a winnable strategy.”

    Completely agree. Her fatal mistake in this case.

    • Blues clues says:

      Actually @pocket litter that was intended in the beginning for reunification until something happened.
      There was no way she was gonna win full custody but Jesus it took five years for him to get this half settled and it still isn’t over.
      That intel’s one thing there was something he didn’t want revealed . There was a tea she is fighting and it’s not all revenge.

  23. Ihatestupidpeople says:

    What a POS Pitt has turned out to be. Would LOVE for Maddox to out him to the world.

  24. I Needa Drink says:

    Angie lost. Brad got 50/50 custody. It’s been confirmed by Page 6 and TMZ. She dragged it out too long and she ended up with what she was trying to avoid. Shoulda listened to the first set of lawyers and avoided the drama.

    • L says:

      There are no winners here period! 🙄

    • pj says:

      She dragged it out and now the kids are older. I would’ve done the same thing.

    • Blues clues says:

      What she did get was older kids who can chose their own fate. The two youngest would have no choice for two years. And I don’t believe all this she didn’t want him involved crap you fans are spewing. When the truth finally comes out I don’t want to hear anything about it from u guys.
      He has paid out millions, gone to rehab, lied, been monitored, had therapy and humiliated. Guess that’s good by your standards.
      People mag has the true nature of this not believing a mans PR after they pulled that cleared stunt after signing an agreement with CPS.

    • Myra says:

      Up to now, she has had full custody of the children as a result of a court decision. This arrangement has been amended after five years because Pitt submitted a new request for amendment. The judge obviously agrees that the circumstances have changed with regards to Pitt’s ability to parent their ‘three youngest’ children safely. During those five years, she provided them with a safe and nurturing home, while Pitt sorted out his issues. Even with this amended arrangement, their divorce is still not finalised.

  25. chimes@midnight says:

    After five years of proceedings, hearings and filings, almost everyone except the extremely wealthy would have had to give up or give in by now and reach an agreement just due to the legal costs involved. If Angelina were a teacher’s assistant instead of a world renowned celebrity and activist, she would have needed to compromise on the happiness and well-being of her kids because of how absolutely fucked up divorce law and court costs are in this country. Even *as* a world renowned celebrity and activist, this is what she has to go through ……

  26. lucy2 says:

    So it’s being reported that they got 50/50 custody, at least temporarily.
    I wonder if the 14+ kids can file for emancipation.

    I can’t imagine the money spent on both sides, over 5 years, to end up here. And now we’re going to get articles about him, looking pensively off into the distance, about how he’s just trying to be a good father. Blah.

    • Christina says:

      The kids are old enough to run if they are fearful. Lots of people are watching, and the court kept them in therapy and safe while he learned not to be such an asshole in front of his kids. Jolie’s was a worthy fight that has allowed her kids to get to a point where they are old enough to get help if something bad happens at home. Pitt will behave. He’s shady, like lots of men, and self-centered, and he has substance abuse problems like a lot of people do, but he’s not a monster. He’s not Depp.

      The judge is still shady, but Pitt will lose 50/50 if something happens, and that would mess up the judge’s reputation. I don’t think he did it to spite Jolie. It’s not about her. It’s about the kids’ safety. Jolie is a wonderful mom. I admire her deeply.

      • Myra says:

        I read a news story a while ago about a mother who lost a custody battle after requesting full physical custody. She knocked on every door she could to warn them of his threats and abuse, but they treated her as if she was alienating the father. One weekend, he took his son to sea and drowned the poor boy. He was not insane, nor was he drunk. Just vengeful.

        I am not saying Pitt is the same. I can understand though why one parent will choose to fight even if the odds of winning are slim. I truly hope for the children’s sake that he is fully sober. Nevertheless, if he terrorised his family while he was drunk, to them he was the monster. Sober or not, his media tactics reveal a lot about the type of person he is.

  27. Whatnow says:

    Well I’m more wondering how long is it going to take before we get the million dollar photo of Brad taking the kids to Disneyland or some such thing

  28. Nina says:

    And somewhere Jennifer Aniston is probably glad she dodged that bullet. Brad Pitt seems like a piece of work.

  29. Anonymous says:

    @nina: She sure did. I think she thanks her lucky stars she never had children with him.

  30. SusanRagain says:

    Please, please one of those kids needs to write a book and tell all!
    I got my $25 cash ready!!

    I can only imagine the emotional hot mess behind the scenes.

    Brad has NO CLASS, at all.
    A caring parent would have found a way to meet in the middle without all the years of BS.

    I’ve always seen Pitt as Robert Redford 2.0 but Redford has looks + talent + raised his kids/lived his life in private. Too late Brad.

    And as far as AJ goes, she, like many Moms has spent years putting the children first.
    Yes, she has staff. But she has slowed her career down, and publicly said she wants to not live in US but due to children/custody must stay here.
    Hollywood actresses have a short shelf life, after 45+ the roles drop, even for a beauty like AJ.

    Between the bs of Brad/Angie and hearing Prince Harry talk about his life, I guess all the daydreams of fame and fortune really are just stories for little kids. I will take my paycheck to paycheck life instead.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I would be traumatized if I had to testify before a judge about one of my parents. I really hope; for the sake of the kids, the judge had sufficient testimony from therapists, family friends, etc. to award 50/50 custody. I wish them peace and healing moving forward.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what she was asking for? Was it only visitation? Supervised visitation? It’s sad they could not reach an agreement that would work for all of them. Unfortunately, family matters tend to be really difficult.

    • Blues clues says:

      When she filed she asked for some custody no child support, and he would have physical rights and visitations. She asked for only her share of monies they made as a brand and properties acquired together. He gave her temporary custody because he was in a white load of trouble with CPS AND FBI.
      There was an agreement made with CPS in which he had to do drug tests and etc. He had to meet these children supervised with a therapist. He finally agreed to that and some didn’t take part. What did he say? Well let the ones who do come in their spot! What’s douche. He didn’t want to do therapy including Angelina at that time I assume he was pissy at her for filing. Next he complained about how far he had to drive or meet them prompting Angie to move closer to him to satisfy his azz. She was renting a home in Malibu at the time.
      There was back and forth about the sealing of the proceedings for months with him crying about the kids privacy in which it only benefited him. Things went downhill in 2018 when Angelina wen to film Maleficent in London. He has a tantrum and sent his lawyers after her even accusing her controlling the kids phones which he claimed he didn’t have to number to so I don’t know how she could monitor his texts?! Also insinuating she wasn’t trying to help unify him with the kids and the judge actually ordered her to tell the kids they were safe with him. Big red flag! On and in the boat rocked,
      We have witnessed for five years this man show who he really is when he wants something.
      Yes men should have access and custody of their kids too. But this is more complicated than we know. He had to be monitored with his kids for that long. He is a oar because he has has some custody for since 2018. Angelina has never tried to deny those kids to him.

  33. Guest says:

    DO you think he watches her new movies?

    • Noodle says:

      Didn’t he say at the SAGs/GGs/Oscars that he watches everything? This was during an acceptance speech.

      Good luck to those kids. 100% innocent in all this.

  34. Devs says:

    I feel so bad for those kids

    What a terrible excuse for a “father”. I think he is evil