Madonna and Guy Ritchie have been urged by a UK judge to try and resolve their child dispute over son Rocco themselves.
The dispute is over where their 15-year-old son Rocco should live; with Madonna in the US or with Guy Ritchie in the UK.
If they are unable to reach an amicable agreement the court action will continue in New York.
Leading family law solicitor Rupi Rai said: “Rocco is old enough to have a say in any decision with his parents now. As with all children disputes it’s preferable to make an agreement out of court amicably. Nobody wants to see their parents splashed on the front pages walking past the newsagents.
“Family mediation should be the first port of call when there is a problem in deciding the residence of a child. When a child is aged 14 to 16 it is very difficult to make them do something they don’t want to. Clearly, Rocco’s wishes need to be factored into any decision Madonna and Guy make, although a child’s wishes, even at Rocco’s age, are not necessarily decisive.”
Rocco had lived primarily with his mum in America since his parents divorced in 2008, but in late 2015, while Madonna was touring Europe, he left to visit his dad in the UK. Since then he has stayed with his father and step-mother in London.
Described by the judge as a “very great credit” to his parents, it has been reported Rocco has now enrolled into school here, having chosen not to move back to America following the conclusion of Madonna’s world tour.
In normal circumstances, the courts of England and Wales will take priority in international children law issues when the child lives in England or Wales. It becomes more complicated when a child has settled links with more than one country as is the case with Rocco. There can be arguments over which court should deal with the matter as well as how the decision should be resolved.
The judge hearing the English aspect of the proceedings, Mr Justice MacDonald, is understood to have urged the celebrity couple to find an amicable resolution to the dispute, saying: “At the root of these proceedings is a temporary breakdown in trust. It would be a very great tragedy for Rocco if any more of the precious and fast receding days of his childhood were to be taken up by this dispute.”