It didn’t take long for another chapter of the ongoing divorce drama, Pitt v. Jolie. Pitt has been seeking a modification of a previous order that granted Jolie sole custody. Their privately chosen judge, John Ouderkirk, agreed with Pitt after hearing and modified the existing order granting Brad joint custody.
During the proceedings, Jolie’s attorneys filed a motion to remove Judge Ouderkirk for allegedly failing to make mandatory disclosures concerning other proceedings where he represented Pitt. Following Judge Ouderkirk’s lengthy written rulings, Jolie was reportedly furious that the judge refused to permit the children to testify. We suggested that Jolie’s desire to involve the children directly in the litigation was a factor in the judge’s finding that Jolie was not credible concerning her abuse allegations.
Pitt’s representatives indicated that despite the ruling, the mountain of evidence from many experts, some of whom interviewed the children, supports the joint custody order as being in the children’s best interest.
Jolie’s sources indicate she is upset that the judge “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate.”
Jolie’s victory may be pyrrhic indeed if she continues to insist that it was fundamentally and substantially unfair to exclude the testimony of her children. The trend is to rely on third-party testimony, including experts, GALs, family members, treatment and care providers, teachers, and others, to provide such evidence.
It is unlikely that this case will be retried in its entirety. Unless something new is alleged that was unavailable during the litigation, the hearing is concluded. Of course, another judge may review the transcripts for errors in the judge’s rulings on admissibility. But to retry the entire case would certainly not be in the children’s best interests. On the other hand, it can be argued that depriving the children of their father could cause irreparable harm.
The fact the Jolie cannot see the harm to her children should they testify against their father is surprising. It seems that having great wealth and talent does not immunize people from the tunnel vision that spouses suffer from in divorce. It reminds us that it is not enough to have the best lawyers and experts available if you won’t heed their advice or process the information.
The courts, whenever possible, want to build a solid wall between the litigation and the children. Ultimately, the courts prefer adults resolve their differences and get on with their parenting responsibility. In this area of law, Florida is ahead of California in reframing custody orders in terms of shared responsibility, with both parties expected to share that responsibility equitably.
Again, we can expect to hear from Pitt vs. Jolie again. If you have any questions concerning divorce, contact us.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100