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Celebrity divorce: Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s Custody Battle Over Son

MadonaMadonna and Guy Ritchie married in 2000, and were together for 8 years. Together, they have two sons, adopted son David and biological son Rocco, now 15. And it seems their divorce, though now years old, has resulted in a bitter custody battle over their oldest son.

The situation is made more difficult by the fact that Madonna resides in the United States, while her ex-husband remains in his native England.

So what’s going on, and how can it be best be resolved?

The custody battle has been ongoing since 2015. Rocco was originally supposed to remain with his mother, however, while she was touring last fall, he chose to return to England to live with his father, where he has remained despite a judge’s order to return to New York to sort out the situation.

And Ritchie and Madonna have been fighting it out ever since, with Madonna filing in New York and Ritchie urging to have hearings in the U.K. A TMZ report claims that Madonna believes Ritchie was influencing their son, who believes Madonna’s parenting is too strict. The report also claims that Rocco told his father he wanted a quiet lifestyle and didn’t like the traveling associated with his mother’s touring.

The situation has been playing out via the media and over social media, as Madonna has taken to her personal pages with photos reminiscing better times with her son. And Ritchie has so far ignored judge orders to return his son to Madonna in New York, allowing Rocco to continue living with him.

But Ritchie and Madonna were recently given warnings that they should put aside their personal longings, and instead resolve the matter with one thing in mind – what is best for their son.

A New York judge has criticized Ritchie for not returning Rocco to New York, despite her orders, and she has criticized both parents for continuing to fight, rather than work out an agreement in the custody battle.

Madonna fears that her ex-husband is harming their son by allowing him to ignore the judge’s order. She went so far as to make an application under the Hague Convention for the return of Rocco. The Hague Convention deals with abducting children, and Madonna’s complaint states that her son has been illegally retained and not returned as planned.

A U.K High Court Judge, Alistair MacDonald, however, has urged the exes to reach an agreement by saying “The boy very quickly becomes the man. 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.”

The judge has encouraged them to reach an amicable agreement, outside of the courts and the watchful eyes of the media, for the best interest of their son.

It appears Madonna has now withdrawn her application, which will bring the legal proceedings to a close in England. Lawyers for both sides have told Judge MacDonald that the exes have each outlined proposals for negotiation. But it seems they are still far from each other, as Madonna’s outlines negotiations to take place in New York after her tour has ended, while Ritchie’s request a meeting in London.

If an agreement cannot be reached soon, the logical next step would be to appoint a lawyer to represent Rocco, to help the courts get a better understanding of his wishes, and what is best for him.

“Unfortunately, even in amicable divorce settlements, the topic of child custody is always a difficult and emotional one,” says John Griffith, a San Marcos child custody lawyer. “A custody battle pits parent against parent, rather than encouraging parents to work for what is best for the child. And because this one also involves parents who live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, it is even more difficult. It will be in the best interest of Rocco for the parents to come to a mediated and negotiated settlement, as soon as possible.”

The family and child custody lawyers at Griffith, Young & Lass have years of experience litigating and settling hundreds of child custody cases in the San Marcos area. If you or someone you know needs a child custody attorney, call now for a free consultation. 858-345-1720

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Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.


Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.


Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
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