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The famous couple married in 2014 after nearly a decade of dating. Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, with ‘irreconcilable differences’ given as the reason for the breakdown of the relationship. She has also told more than one interviewer that the split was in the interests of her family’s well-being.

Since then, the case has been dogged by disagreements over property and arrangements for custody of the couple’s six children. Last year, Jolie and Pitt legally ‘bifurcated’ their marriage. This means they were legally separated (but not divorced) and able to have a ‘single’ status during further divorce proceedings. It’s also understood that COVID-19 has slowed down the divorce process considerably.

Jolie expresses divorce judge impartiality concerns

In the latest development of this extremely high-profile divorce, Maleficent star Angelina Jolie put in a request for the judge overseeing the case to be disqualified. Her legal team claim that Judge John W. Ouderkirk had previous business relationships with one of Pitt’s lawyers – and that he failed to disclose this information.

According to the legal documents filed at the time, Jolie also claims that Pitt’s team also pushed to have the judge’s involvement in the case extended. Her lawyer Samantha Bley DeJean told the press:

"All my client is asking for is a fair trial based on facts, with no special favours extended to either side. The only way litigants can trust the process is for everyone involved to ensure that there's transparency and impartiality."

Another filing stated: “It doesn’t matter if Judge Ouderkirk is actually biased. Under California law disqualification is required as long as a person aware of the facts ‘might reasonably entertain a doubt’ about Judge Ouderkirk’s ability to remain impartial.”

The request to disqualify Judge Ouderkirk from the case was unsuccessful. He will continue to preside over the case, including an upcoming custody hearing. The judge denied that he failed to reveal business and financial relationships with Fight Club actor Pitt’s attorney, and stated that he will remain impartial throughout the case.

Pitt’s team have allegedly described Jolie’s request as a ‘Hail Mary’ – a term relating to American Football when a game is deliberately delayed.

Need help with divorce?

Separation can easily become messy, complicated and even bitter, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right legal team on your side, you can minimise stress, negotiate amicably and reach a resolution that works for everyone.

Get in touch with Liverpool divorce solicitor Tracey Miller Family Law for practical, helpful legal advice you can trust. We’re still here helping our clients throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Give us a call on 0151 515 3036 or 07795 060 211, or email and we’ll get right back to you.