Friday 15 December 2017

Judge pleads with Madonna and Guy to end row over Rocco


Brian Farmer in London

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.

Mr Justice MacDonald said yesterday that it would be a "tragedy" if any more of the "fast-receding days" of the teenager's childhood were taken up by the dispute.

The judge said the youngster was a "very great credit" to his parents. He said it would be better if Madonna and Mr Ritchie could each spend time enjoying his company.

The dispute relates to where the teenager should live.

Judges have heard that Rocco had remained in London with his father after a visit.

Madonna wants the teenager to return to live with her in the US.

Litigation had begun in London and the United States.

Mr Justice MacDonald made his plea for peace after ruling that the English proceedings could be halted.

The judge analysed the latest round of the dispute at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London earlier this month.

He was asked to decide whether he should allow English proceedings to draw to a close - or whether he should make decisions about Rocco's welfare.

More court hearings are expected to be held in New York.

No-one involved was in court yesterday when Mr Justice MacDonald handed down his ruling on the future of legal proceedings in England.

"At the root of these proceedings . . . is a temporary breakdown in trust," said the judge.

"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."

He added: "I renew, one final time, my plea for the parents to seek, and to find, an amicable resolution to the dispute between them. Because agreement is not possible today does not mean that agreement will not be possible tomorrow.

"Most importantly . . . summer does not last forever. 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.

"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."

Mr Justice MacDonald had previously urged Madonna and Mr Ritchie to try to settle the dispute.

A judge in New York has made similar pleas.

Lawyers have told him that both had outlined proposals for negotiation.

Mr Justice MacDonald said Madonna had issued proceedings under international legislation relating to parental disputes about children in London on December 21.

She made an application, under the 1980 Hague Convention, for the summary return of Rocco to the jurisdiction of the United States - specifically to New York State.

The judge said two days later Madonna launched separate proceedings in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

He said hearings in New York were being overseen by Justice Deborah Kaplan.

Mr Justice MacDonald said Madonna accepted that the New York court had "jurisdiction" -and he gave her permission to withdraw the proceedings she had launched in London under the Hague Convention.

Irish Independent

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