Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s contentious custody battle over their five minor children has taken another turn.
In a win for Jolie, a California appeals court has now ruled that Judge John W. Ouderkirk should be disqualified from deciding who gets custody of the couple’s kids over ethical reasons, reported the Associated Press.
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Jolie had argued that Ouderkirk hadn’t fully disclosed the extent of his business relationship with Pitt’s lawyers and should be removed from the case. On Friday, a three-judge panel on the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed.
According to Page Six, full custody now reverts back to Jolie, at least temporarily, with Pitt having visitation rights. In addition, the pair’s custody battle will now have to begin from the start.
Following the decision, Pitt’s representatives released a statement.
"The appeals court ruling was based on a technical procedural issue. The facts haven't changed,” read the statement. “There is an extraordinary amount of factual evidence which led the judge—and the many experts who testified—to reach their clear conclusion about what is in the children's best interests.”
The statement added: “We will continue to do what's necessary legally based on the detailed findings of what's best for the children."
Jolie's reps have not commented on the latest decision.
Pitt and Jolie share six children: Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 12. Maddox is not involved in the custody battle as he is no longer a minor.
Pitt and Jolie announced their engagement in April 2012 after seven years together. They were married on August 23, 2014, in a private ceremony in France. Jolie sought a divorce in 2016.
In 2019, the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" stars were declared legally single as they continued to work out finances and child custody.