Angelina Jolie Criticizes Judge's Tentative Ruling as Brad Pitt Is Awarded More Custody: Source
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's custody dispute continues following their 2016 split
In a sealed decision from earlier this spring, a source tells PEOPLE Judge John Ouderkirk tentatively awarded Pitt more custody over the former couple's five minor children: Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, and Knox and Vivienne, who turn 13 in July. 19-year-old Maddox, their eldest child, is no longer part of the custody case.
However, it's unclear if the decision is legally binding as another source says nothing has yet to change in terms of official custody.
In response to the ruling, a source close to Pitt, 57, tells PEOPLE the actor "has always wanted what is best for the kids, and to spend time with them."
"A few weeks ago, the judge's decision came down after a months long trial," the insider adds. "Brad has been awarded significantly more time with the kids. He had had very limited time before."
The insider says the tentative decision was made based on testimony from "witnesses, experts, people who have been with the kids. The children's voices were heard, but they just didn't testify themselves."
A California statute says any child at least 14 years of age should be allowed to weigh in and state custodial preference, making Pax, Zahara and Shiloh eligible to testify.
On Monday, Jolie, 45, filed a complaint to California's Second District Court of Appeal over Ouderkirk's ruling and continuing purview over the case. Jolie previously failed to have the judge, who is also overseeing their divorce dispute, removed last November.
A source close to Jolie says "joint custody is not the issue that Angelina objects to, there were other issues of concern, but the court proceedings are closed and sealed."
According to the Associated Press, Jolie's lawyers argued that "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 actress further claimed the judge "refused to hear the minor teenagers' input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate."
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In court documents from last November obtained by PEOPLE, the Superior Court of California in Orange County ruled that Ouderkirk — who married the former couple in 2014 — will remain on the case.
According to the ruling, Ouderkirk properly disclosed his involvement with his law firm representing Pitt before he was assigned to the case.
Ouderkirk presided over Pitt and Jolie's 2014 nuptials at their family's French estate, Château Miraval. He was one of only 20 attendees at the ultra-intimate affair.
Jolie filed for divorce in 2016 and she and Pitt were legally declared single in 2019 as the finalization of their divorce continues.
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