Sean Penn and Leila George hire private judge to help settle divorce

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Sean Penn and Leila George are taking an unusual step in settling their divorce.

The estranged couple have retained a well-connected private judge to help hammer out a deal for their uncoupling.

Court documents reveal that the 61-year-old two-time Academy Award winner and human rights activist and the 29-year-old daughter of actor Vincent D’Onofrio asked the court to appoint Judge Scott Gordon to hash out an arrangement to end their one-year marriage.

According to People, Penn will pay to retain the private judge’s services, including Gordon’s $950 hourly rate and additional fees as part of the agreement.

Known throughout Hollywood circles, the retired judge was reportedly hired by Kelly Clarkson in her messy divorce from ex-husband and manager Brandon Blackstock. While serving on the bench of Los Angeles Superior Court, Gordon presided over Mel Gibson’s and Britney Spears’ messy custody battles with their exes.

Penn, who was previously married to Robin Wright and Madonna, is apparently moving to keep this divorce battle secret.

The couple, who were spotted ringing in the New Year together in Australia, will go through meditation instead of going through the public motions in court.

In California, temporary judges are allowed to preside over cases in effort to assist with backlogged courts. Gordon, who was appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, serves as an extension of the court.

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