Stefan Rousseau – WPA Pool/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images Angelina Jolie; Brad Pitt
In September, attorneys for Pitt petitioned the high court to review the case after Judge John Ouderkirk was disqualified, effectively voiding a previous ruling that granted Pitt more time with the former couple’s five minor children.
On Wednesday, the high court upheld the appellate court’s disqualification decision in a ruling obtained by PEOPLE, simply stating: “Petition and stay denied.”
The custody arrangement now adheres to the Nov. 2018 agreement regarding their minor children — Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13.
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A representative for Pitt tells PEOPLE that the appeals court’s previous decision “was based on a technical procedural issue and the Supreme Court’s decision not to review that procedural issue does not change the extraordinary amount of factual evidence which led the trial judge — and the many experts who testified — to reach their clear conclusion about what is in the children’s best interests.”
Karwai Tang/WireImage Angelina Jolie and her children Wednesday
“We will continue to do everything that’s legally necessary based on the detailed findings of the independent experts,” the representative tells PEOPLE.
In a statement Wednesday, Jolie’s attorney tells PEOPLE that the actress welcomed the decision.
“Ms. Jolie is focused on her family and pleased that her children’s wellbeing will not be guided by unethical behavior,” her attorney says.
“As reinforced by California’s appellate courts, our judiciary prioritizes ethics and children’s best interests, and won’t tolerate judicial misconduct to reward the interests of a party. Ms. Jolie is glad for the family to now move forward cooperatively.”
Ouderkirk was disqualified in July for “failure to make mandatory disclosures” about other legal proceedings involving Pitt’s legal counseling, which “might cause an objective person, aware of all of the facts” to doubt Ouderkirk’s impartiality in the case, the court opinion read.
In Pitt’s petition, his attorneys argued that disqualifying Ouderkirk “effectively upended the constitutionally authorized temporary judging system in California” and now “throws open the door to disqualification challenges at any point during a case, even if the party raising the motion has long been on notice about the alleged grounds for disqualification.”
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“In so doing, the opinion is guaranteed to fuel disqualification gamesmanship and raises serious questions as to whether the temporary judging system is a viable option in California’s severely backlogged judicial system,” the petition reads.
Jolie’s team argued that Ouderkirk, who had been serving as the couple’s private judge, could be biased in his rulings considering he had failed to disclose continuing or new cases Pitt’s attorneys had hired him to oversee.
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When Ouderkirk was hired in 2016, both sides listed their business relationships with the judge, and he has been extended twice during their five-year custody battle. At issue, according to the Appellate Court, were additional cases he was later hired to judge, which he didn’t disclose to Jolie’s attorneys.
However, Pitt’s attorneys claim in the petition that Jolie had been “made aware of Judge Ouderkirk’s significant professional history with Pitt’s counsel from the very start” of the custody case, but waited years to seek his disqualification.