Brad Pitt has been granted joint custody of his and Angelina Jolie’s six kids, ET has learned. The news comes after a years-long legal battle between the former couple, who share Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shilo, 14, Vivienne, 12, and Knox, 12.
“All Brad ever wanted was to have joint custody of his children and he is relieved that the court ruled in his favor. This is a huge deal given the prior arrangement with the children. Brad can’t wait to spend more time with them,” a source tells ET. “He’s incredibly happy.”
Judge John Ouderkirk issued a “detailed” ruling which found that Jolie’s testimony lacked credibility in many important areas and that the existing custody order must be modified in the best interest of the children, ET has learned.
Page Six was the first to report the custody news, which came after months of witness testimony.
Jolie, who sought divorce from Pitt in 2016, initially wanted primary custody, while Pitt requested joint custody. Peter Harvey, a lawyer for Jolie who is close to the case but not directly involved, told the Associated Press that the actress “supports joint custody,” but added that the situation is complicated and he can’t go into detail because the court proceedings are under seal.
The news comes shortly after AP reported that Jolie, in a Monday court filing, said that she would appeal such a decision from Judge Ouderkirk, whom she previously requested be removed from the case. That request was denied in November.
Per the outlet, in Jolie’s Monday filing, she criticized Judge Ouderkirk for, she claimed, denying her “a fair trial, improperly excluding her evidence relevant to the children’s health, safety, and welfare, evidence critical to making her case.”
The actress also claimed the judge “has failed to adequately consider” a section of the California courts code, which says it is detrimental to the best interest of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence, AP reported.
In a March court filing, Jolie claimed to have “proof” of alleged domestic violence against Pitt. Pitt was cleared of allegations of child abuse by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Child and Family Services back in 2016.
“Brad is anxious to get custody worked out so that the family can finally move on,” a source told ET at the time, adding that the actor was “heartbroken” by the claim. “He just wants to spend time with his children and move in a positive direction. His priority has always been his relationship with his children.”
Jolie’s most recent filing, AP reported, said the judge has “refused to hear the minor teenagers’ input as to their experiences, needs, or wishes as to their custody fate.”
Per AP, in response to Jolie’s filing, Pitt’s lawyers said, “Ouderkirk has conducted an extensive proceeding over the past six months in a thorough, fair manner and reached a tentative ruling and order after hearing from experts and percipient witnesses.”
Pitt’s own filing, AP reported, claimed that the judge found Jolie’s testimony “lacked credibility in many important areas, and the existing custody order between the parties must be modified, per Mr. Pitt’s request, in the best interests of the children.”
ET has reached out to both Pitt and Jolie’s lawyers for comment.
Reporting by Carolyn Greenspan.
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