After a yearslong legal fight over the custody of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s children, a judge has decided to award joint custody to Pitt. “Page Six” first reported news of the decision, which has since been confirmed by multiple outlets, on May 26. The decision, made by a private judge appointed by the couple, applies to the five younger Jolie-Pitt children, who are under 18; the eldest, Maddox, is 19. It is “a significant change,” a source told “Page Six,” that came after “a fuck-ton” of testimony. But an earlier report by the Associated Press said Jolie claimed, in a May 24 court filing, that the couple’s teenage children were not allowed to testify in the hearings. Jolie has previously claimed the private judge, John Ouderkirk, had undisclosed business ties to Pitt. Per the AP, California code says children 14 and older can choose to testify in custody proceedings. Jolie’s filing also accused Ouderkirk of “improperly excluding her evidence relevant to the children’s health, safety, and welfare.” The filing said Jolie planned to appeal the decision, while a source emphasized to “Page Six” that it was “tentative.” “Joint custody is not the issue that Angelina objects to,” a source told the outlet. “There were other issues of concern.”
Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016, after two years of marriage but over a decade together. Rumors at the time cited an alleged fight on a private flight between Pitt and son Maddox, then 15, although multiple investigations resulted in no charges for Pitt. At the time, Jolie requested primary custody of their six children. The couple decided on a bifurcated divorce in April 2019, which allowed them to become officially single while still figuring out the terms of their split, including custody. The AP report noted that the couple’s previous custody terms have been sealed.