has won a significant legal victory in his years-long custody battle with Angelina Jolie
According to multiple outlets, the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
” star was tentatively awarded joint physical and legal custody of the former couple’s minor children
in a sealed decision made earlier this spring, with a judge ruling in Pitt’s favor after Jolie’s long-standing attempts to secure sole custody were unsuccessful.
Since their divorce
in 2016, the actors
have been embroiled in a bitter divorce battle. They have six children together: twins Knox and Vivienne, 12; Shiloh, 14; Zahara, 16; Pax, 17; and Maddox, 19
According to court documents obtained by The Associated Press
on Monday, Jolie intends to fight the arrangement, and her legal team has stated that it will appeal such a decision.
The “Maleficent” star claimed in the filing that she was denied a fair trial
because the judge overseeing her divorce “improperly excluded her evidence relevant to the children’s health
, safety, and welfare,” which she believes is “critical to making her case.”
While the documents did not specify the nature
of Jolie's evidence, her legal team stated that Judge John Ouderkirk "failed to adequately consider" a California
court code that states it is "detrimental to the best interests of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence
If Jolie had her way, her three teenage children affected by the custody case, Shiloh, Zahara, and Pax, would be able to testify in court, as per a separate California family code that allows children 14 and up to share what custody or visitation arrangement they prefer. However, according to Jolie's filing, the court "refused to hear the minor teenagers' input as to their experiences, needs, and desires."
Pitt's fitness as a parent was called into question in the weeks following the couple's split, following an alleged altercation between the actor and his eldest son on a private plane; he was later cleared of child abuse allegations by both the FBI
and the Los Angeles County
Department of Child and Family Services in November 2016.
At the time, Jolie stated that she was "relieved" by the investigation
's findings; however, in March of this year, she re-entered the courtroom, telling the judge that she and her children are willing to provide "proof and authority in support" of Pitt's alleged abuse, according to Entertainment
According to the Associated Press, Pitt's legal team has responded to Jolie's most recent filing, claiming that his estranged wife's efforts to obstruct a custody agreement "work
grave harm upon the children, who will be further denied permanence and stability."
“Over the past six months, Oberkirk has conducted an extensive proceeding in a thorough, fair manner and reached a tentative ruling and order after hearing from experts and percipient witnesses,” Pitt’s attorneys said.
Last year, Jolie's legal team asked for Ouderkirk's removal, claiming he was "biased" for failing to "disclose the cases that demonstrated the current, ongoing, repeat-customer relationship" with Pitt's attorneys, but her request was denied in November.
Pitt responded to Jolie's attempt to disqualify Ouderkirk at the time, calling it a "thinly-veiled attempt by Jolie to delay the adjudication of long-pending custody issues in this case."
Jolie recently relocated to Los Angeles to be closer to Pitt, whom the children reportedly see on a regular basis, and she revealed to British Vogue
in March that she is still recovering from the breakdown of her marriage.
“I’ve been focusing on healing our family,” she explained, “and it’s gradually coming back, like ice melting and blood returning to my body