Judge Blasts Madonna and Guy Ritchie Over Custody Dispute
Madonna and Guy Ritchie have been chastised by a New York judge for fighting over custody of their teenage son Rocco.
The pop superstar took the case to court in December after the 15-year-old refused to return to the U.S. following a festive break with director Ritchie and his new family in London.
Madonna and Ritchie had originally been scheduled to face off in court on February 3, but the hearing was postponed to reportedly allow the warring sides to try and reach a settlement.
Their lawyers returned to Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, where Madonna’s representative, Eleanor Alter, accused Ritchie of teaching Rocco to disrespect the law by failing to send him back to his mother.
“He taught his son that obeying court orders was not important and I think that’s one of the most serious things that’s happened in this case that’s detrimental to Rocco,” Alter told the court.
She went on to claim the British filmmaker should be held in “contempt” for his actions, and even suggested a warrant should be issued for his arrest – an idea angrily rebuffed by Ritchie’s lawyer, Peter Bronstein.
The in-court fighting did not go down well with Justice Deborah Kaplan and she scolded Madonna and her ex, who both phoned in for the hearing, for dragging out the dispute in court instead of working together to find the best solution for their son.
Kaplan went on to admit their failure to reach an agreement was “extremely troubling,” before insisting their petty attacks were damaging to young Rocco, who has since been enrolled in a school in London.
“Frankly both parties have chosen to live their lives in a very public way and may welcome the publicity, but the child has not,” said the judge. “He would like this matter resolved and the issues concerning him and his family in the most private way possible.”
She declined to force Rocco to return to New York, and urged the warring exes to work together in the hopes of resolving the case amicably before their next hearing on June 1, reports DailyMail.co.uk.
Madonna and Ritchie previously agreed to have the singer raise Rocco in New York as part of their divorce settlement in 2008. The stars were married for eight years, during which they also adopted 10-year-old David Banda.
The “Material Girl” superstar, who is in the midst of her Rebel Heart World Tour, is also mom to daughters Lourdes Leon, 19, and Mercy James, 10.
Ritchie lives in London with his wife Jacqui Ainsley, who he wed in July, and their young kids Rafael, Rivka and Levi.