Judge urges Madonna and Guy Ritchie to resolve custody battle quickly and privately for Rocco’s sake

'Both parties here have chosen to live their lives in a very public way, and may welcome the exposure, but the child has not,' Judge Kaplan told the couple 

Heather Saul
Thursday 03 March 2016 10:40 GMT
(Getty Images)

A New York judge has urged Madonna and Guy Ritchie to resolve their highly publicised custody battle quickly and privately for the sake of their 15-year-old son, Rocco.

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan called on the divorced singer and film director to reach an agreement on Wednesday after their lawyers said the deal they arrived at late on Tuesday had fallen apart.

Neither Ritchie nor Madonna appeared in court for the hearing. Madonna rang in from New Zealand, where she is due to perform as part of her Rebel Heart tour, and Ritchie rang in from London, where Rocco is now enrolled in a school.

Madonna has posted a series of Instagram posts showing pictures of her son with captions about how much she misses him in recent months. Rocco, who has lived with his mother since her divorce from Ritchie in 2008, left New York last year to stay with his father in London and Madonna launched action to compel Ritchie to return Rocco to New York.

Their custody battle has attracted heavy media attention. In December, a judge ruled that Rocco should return to his mother's custody. Records show Madonna moved for the judge to enforce that order, according to the Associated Press.

Judge Kaplan said she would not remove the order but had no plans to issue a warrant to compel Ritchie to appear in New York.

“No one is disrupting his household other than the inability of the parents to reach a resolution,” she said. “If they cannot resolve this matter then eventually the court will.”

“Frankly, both parties here have chosen to live their lives in a very public way, and may welcome the exposure, but the child has not,” she continued, in comments reported by The Telegraph.

“I urge them to consider what is the best interests of their son - which may be to remove him from the spotlight.”

Ellen Sigal, a court-appointed lawyer for Rocco, said her client has been stressed about his future since leaving his mother's worldwide tour last year to stay with Ritchie in London, where he now attends school.

“It's been a very difficult time for him,” she said in court. “We hope to put an end to this as soon as possible without exposing him to more litigation, press innuendo, any of that kind of thing.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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