Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s five-year custody battle finally has a resolution — for now. Pitt has been awarded joint custody of his five children (oldest son Maddox is 19 years old and not subject to the custody decision) after the private judge hired by the couple, Judge John Ouderkirk, made his ruling, per Page Six.
This ruling impacts sons Pax, 17, and Knox, 12, and daughters Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, and Vivienne, 12. While Jolie reportedly “supports joint custody,” according to her lawyer Peter Harvey, via Associated Press, there were other issues to iron out that the actress felt weren’t heard throughout the months-long hearing. The biggest area of concern was that Ouderkirk “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate,” and according to California code, children 14 and over should be allowed to testify if they so desire.
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The Jolie-Pitt teens not having a say in the custody case could be a detriment to the relationship between their older kids and Pitt. It’s been no secret that Maddox, who as an adult can choose whether to have a relationship with his father, has been estranged from the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood star for quite some time. “Brad feels like he’s being more and more isolated from his children, and he’s devastated about it,” a source told Page Six back in March. Pitt stopped drinking and was cleared of any child abuse charges by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services after the 2016 domestic violence incident involving the actor, Jolie and Maddox occurred, but the effects have been felt long term.
Jolie is continuing her legal fight after the ruling, per Page Six, but it’s easy to see that this is anything but an amicable divorce. “Brad was just trying to have more time with his kids — and it has been clear that Angie has done everything possible to prevent this,” a source told the New York publication. But as a mom, Jolie wants to make sure any of her concerns stemming back to the 2016 incident are addressed and her children are safe.
“Ms. Jolie has been working privately for four and a half years to both heal her family and to fight for improvements to the system to ensure that other families do not experience what hers has endured,” her lawyer told the Associated Press. There’s a lot of pain to heal and for the older kids, who have likely formed their own opinions in this matter, it’s going to be a hard mountain to climb, especially if they feel like their voice wasn’t heard in this situation.
Before you go, click here to see celebrity exes who never buried the hatchet.