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Judge Urges Madonna And Guy Ritchie To Find ‘Amicable Resolution’ On Custody Battle

Case Highlights Difficulties When One Parent Moves To A Different Country


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

The on-going custody battle between Madonna and Guy Ritchie reiterates the importance of putting your children first when parents are no longer together and live in different countries say family law experts at Irwin Mitchell. 

A high court judge has pleaded with Madonna and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie to resolve a legal dispute over the future of their 15-year-old son, Rocco. 

The couple, who were married for ten years, divorced back in 2008 agreeing not to demand a financial settlement from each other and to share custody of their two boys, Rocco and David. 

Rocco lived with Madonna from this point onwards, only to abruptly leave his mother whilst on tour in Europe late last year and move in with his father and step-mother in London. 

This led to Madonna accused Ritchie of "illegally retaining" the teenager and lodging a claim under child abduction laws. 

Earlier this month, it emerged she had applied to withdraw this action but Mr Ritchie's legal team opposed the move which led to the hearing in London. 

With neither of Rocco’s parents present the judge released a 22-page written judgment which confirmed that the English proceedings could be halted allowing the custody battle to be resolved in New York or by family conciliation. 

Mr Justice Macdonald spoke of his frustrations at the hearing and urged “both parents to seek and to find an amicable resolution to the dispute between them.” 

He added that “it would be a great tragedy for Rocco if any more of the fast receding days of his childhood were to be taken up by this dispute." 

National law firm Irwin Mitchell regularly works with clients who are locked in a custody battle, where there is a dispute over where the child should live, which is further complicated by the parents residing in different countries. 

Irwin Mitchell’s family law team support Kids in the Middle, a charity which aims to help children whose parents are going through, or have gone through a divorce.

A project has been set up to help campaign for changes to family law and mediation services, to ensure that every child’s thoughts are considered in separations. 

Expert Opinion
“A divorce is a challenging experience for all parties but when children are involved and their future is at stake then a resolution must be sought, however difficult this may be, as they should always be the priority.

“This appeared to be the case when Madonna and Guy Ritchie separated and agreed to joint custody of Rocco but her subsequent move to New York complicated the agreement and has led to claims and counter claims that cannot have helped a young man growing up in the media spotlight due to his parents’ fame.

“It is becoming more and more common in custody cases that one parent wishes, or is required to relocate, often thousands of miles away. The best case scenario is that parents will be able to agree what is best for their child, either directly, through mediation, collaborative law or negotiation using solicitors.

“This has not been the case here and it likely comes down to a breakdown in trust between the parents which can then cloud the bigger picture - the happiness of their son.

“Mr Justice MacDonald’s ruling suggests that an agreement may finally be reached, and whilst this is a positive step, the length of time it has taken and the media attention the case has received will not have been easy for Rocco.

“As the judge stated “this is a case born out of circumstances that arise for countless separated parents the world over” and this is why we work closely with Kids in the Middle to make sure children affected by either a separation or divorce are aware of the help and support which they can access.”
Clare Wiseman, Partner

The Kids in the Middle website can be viewed here and more information on the work the Irwin Mitchell family law team does can be found here.

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