Madonna and Guy Ritchie have been warned by a high court judge to think about how their incredibly acrimonious public custody battle could affect what is left of their son Rocco’s childhood.
Mr Justice MacDonald aired his concerns during a recent private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, reported The Telegraph.
"At the root of these proceedings is a temporary breakdown in trust," said Judge MacDonald. "For all the media coverage, comment and analysis, this is a case born out of circumstances that arise for countless separated parents the world over."
The high-profile former couple, who were married for seven years, have been involved in a legal row in respect of their teenage son’s living arrangements for the last few months, with proceedings issued in both London and the U.S. Rocco had remained in London with his father after a visit last autumn, against his mother's wishes; Madonna wanted the teenager to return to live with her in the U.S. In December last year, the singer lodged a claim under child abduction laws against Ritchie.
Ultimately, Judge MacDonald ruled that English proceedings into the case could be stopped, at Madonna’s request. He also revealed that both he and Manhattan judge Deborah Kaplan had "repeatedly urged the parties to adopt a consensual approach to resolving these matters of dispute between them for the benefit of Rocco."
"It would be a very great tragedy for Rocco if any more of the previous and fast receding days of his childhood were to be taken up by this dispute," said the judge. "As I observed during the course of the hearing, summer does not last forever. The boy very quickly becomes the man. I renew, one final time, my pleas for the parents to seek, and to find, an amicable resolution to the dispute between them."
The judge also paid tribute to 15-year-old Rocco, saying, "Far better for each of his parents to spend that time enjoying, in turn, the company of the mature, articulate and reflective young man who is their son and who is a very great credit to them both."
The recent London ruling means that Madonna and Guy's dispute will now be resolved in the United States or by family conciliation.
Few custody battles are played out in front of the entire world, but it doesn’t matter how rich or famous parents are. The same principles apply during any custody disagreement: what is best for the child should be the only consideration. You may not be husband and wife any more — or even friends — but you will always be parents and, regardless of age, the child is always the innocent party.
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