Judge urges Madonna to resolve son spat
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
AP photoA judge at England's High Court on March 21 pleaded with US pop megastar Madonna and her British film director ex-husband to resolve a legal dispute over their son Rocco amicably.
Alistair MacDonald said it would be a "very great tragedy" if any more of the 15-year-old's childhood was lost in the spat between Madonna and Guy Ritchie over where he should live.
Judges have heard that Rocco had remained in London with his father after a visit in early December. Madonna wants the teenager to return to live with her in the State of New York.
MacDonald made his plea for peace after ruling that the proceedings in the English courts could be halted. Litigation is also under way in New York.
"At the root of these proceedings... is a temporary breakdown in trust," the judge said.
"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.
"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."
MacDonald said Madonna accepted that the New York court had "jurisdiction". He gave her permission to withdraw the London case.
"The existence of parallel proceedings in two jurisdictions, before two judges with two sets of lawyers is introducing unnecessary and unhelpful complexity and hindering attempts at settlement, as well as incurring considerable expense," the judge said.
Madonna and Ritchie split in 2008 after eight years of marriage.
MacDonald said they had agreed that Rocco would live in the United States with Madonna but spend time with Ritchie, an agreement approved by a family court judge.
"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" director Ritchie had attended some of the London court hearings, though Madonna had been on tour in Australia and New Zealand.