Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce case got another update this week, with Jolie's petition to have Judge John Ouderkirk removed from her and Pitt's case approved. On Friday, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the judge is disqualified, Us Weekly reports.
"The case has been sent back to the Los Angeles Superior Court," a source said. "Judge Ouderkirk is no longer involved and Angelina is grateful to seek a fair decision regarding custody for the children." Ouderkirk had previously granted Pitt more time with his and Jolie's five minor children, but his disqualification means that the ruling is now void. The judges had reversed a previous court ruling denying Jolie's request to disqualify Ouderkirk, and he is now ineligible from serving as temporary judge in the case.
The judges who oversaw the hearing earlier in July noted that Ouderkirk's "failure to make mandatory disclosures" about other legal proceedings involving Pitt's attorneys "might cause an objective person, aware of all of the facts" to doubt Ouderkirk's impartiality in the case, according to a court opinion obtained by PEOPLE. Because there will be a change in judge in Pitt and Jolie's case, it's possible that their current custody agreement could be tossed out and they will have to start over again.
The former couple, who married in 2014 and split in 2016, share six children, Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12. As an adult, Maddox is not involved in the custody case.
Jolie initially asked Ouderkirk to disqualify himself in August 2020, alleging that he failed to disclose "ongoing business and professional relationships" with Pitt's legal team. At the time, Pitt insisted that he and Jolie had a "well-documented history" with Ouderkirk, who officiated the pair's wedding.
The judge responded to Jolie's claim by stating, "The Objection to my continued service does not change my ability to objectively view and evaluate the evidence presented by both sides and apply the law impartially." In previous court documents, he claimed that the Maleficent star had "clearly failed" to prove any form of bias in the case.
In May, Jolie filed documents alleging that the court refused to hear relevant evidence in the case, including testimony from some of her children. "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," the documents claimed, via The Associated Press.