Brad Pitt Challenges Angelina Jolie's Child Custody Win in New Court Filing

Brad Pitt has petitioned the California Supreme Court to review its recent ruling that saw him stripped of a 50-50 custody agreement in his legal battle with ex-wife Angelina Jolie.

At the end of July, the California 2nd District Court of Appeals called a private judge's behavior an "ethical breach" in the divorce case between Jolie and Pitt, giving Jolie a major win in their custody fight.

The appeals court agreed with Jolie, who said Judge John W. Ouderkirk didn't sufficiently disclose business relationships with Pitt's attorneys.

"Judge Ouderkirk's ethical breach, considered together with the information disclosed concerning his recent professional relationships with Pitt's counsel, might cause an objective person, aware of all the facts, reasonably to entertain a doubt as to the judge's ability to be impartial. Disqualification is required," the court said at the time.

But Pitt is now seeking a review of the "dangerous" ruling, which his legal team has insisted only serves to harm the five minor children he's seeking joint custody of.

"We are seeking review in the California Supreme Court because the temporary judge, who had been appointed and repeatedly renewed by both sides, was improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision, following a lengthy legal process with multiple witnesses and experts," Pitt's lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., told Newsweek in a statement.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt (L) has Brad Pitt has requested that the California Supreme Court review its ruling on his child custody battle with ex-wife Angelina Jolie (R) that saw him lose a 50-50 tentative agreement after a private judge handling the case was disqualified. Steve Granitz/WireImage;/Dave Benett/WireImage

The statement continued: "The lower court's ruling will reward parties who are losing child custody cases, and condone their gamesmanship, by allowing them to wait and see about the likely direction of the case before seeking the disqualification of the judge.

"Condoning the use of this type of strategic 'lie in wait' disqualification challenge will cause irreparable harm to both the children and families involved in this case, and other families in other cases, by unnecessarily prolonging the resolution of these disputes in an already overburdened court system.

"Allowing this kind of crafty litigation strategy will deprive parents of irreplaceable time with their children as judges are disqualified for minor reasons in the midst of their cases.

"The lower court's ruling is bad for children and bad for California's overburdened judicial system."

The former couple, known as Brangelina, announced the end of their marriage in September 2016—two years after tying the knot in August 2014—with Jolie filing for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."

The end of their marriage sparked a long-running custody battle over their children, sons Maddox, 20, and Pax,17; daughters Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and 13-year-old fraternal twins Vivienne and Knox.

Celebrities are often known to hire their own judge to increase levels of privacy in their divorce proceedings.

While Jolie and Pitt were declared divorced in 2019, they continued to iron out other issues, including child custody and assets.

Should the current ruling stand, Pitt and Jolie face the arduous task of starting their child custody battle all over again.

Newsweek has contacted a representative for Angelina Jolie for comment.

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their children
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are seen after landing at Los Angeles International Airport with their children, Pax Jolie-Pitt, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt and Knox Jolie-Pitt on February 5, 2014 GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images