Madonna’s lawyers have demanded that ex-husband Guy Ritchie be arrested for contempt of court.
Both Madonna and Guy Ritchie attended the court hearing in Manhattan yesterday by telephone – he is in London, she is in New Zealand.
Madonna spoke only at the start of hearing when asked: ‘Is that Miss Ciccone?’ and she replied: ‘Yes, it’s me.’
Guy Ritchie only spoke to confirm he was on the phone too.
Madonna’s lawyer Eleanor Alter said that Ritchie should have brought Rocco to New York to resolve the dispute because that was what was agreed under the legally-binding terms of his divorce agreement with Madonna in 2008…
He thought it was better for Rocco to live with him.
He may be right, I don’t know. But the proper procedure was to come back to New York and ask for a change in circumstances. He used self-help.
He taught his son that obeying court orders was not important and I think that’s one of the most serious things that’s happened in this case that’s detrimental to Rocco.
Ritchie’s lawyer Peter Bronstein angrily rejected the demand from Madonna’s team and said that his client had not even been held in contempt so an arrest was not being considered yet. He also said that Ritchie and Madonna had been speaking directly to each other and had drawn up an agreement which they had summarized into 24 points.
It broke down because of a number of issues including measures that allowed David Banda to visit Rocco in London but make sure he returns to New York.
Bronstein said there were still a ‘number of differences which are extremely important to my client and, I understand, to the child’.
Bronstein said that he had refrained from filing a number of papers which could be ‘emotionally disturbing’ to Rocco in the hope that an agreement could be reached.
He asked the court to lift Justice Kaplan’s order from December requiring that Rocco return to New York but she rebuffed him.
Justice Kaplan scolded both Ritchie and Madonna and said their son just wanted the case over…
Frankly both parties have chosen to live their lives in a very public way and may welcome the publicity, but the child has not.
He would like this matter resolved and the issues concerning him and his family in the most private way possible.
Justice Kaplan said that under the terms of Madonna and Ritchie’s divorce, which was agreed in London in 2008, the Manhattan Supreme Court had ultimate authority over any custody matters, not the High Court in London and urged both sides to think about what was ‘best for the child’.
Rocco’s lawyer Ellen Sigal said that the teenager wanted his parents to ‘put in place measures that will heal the rift that has arisen’.
She said that the case was proving to be a ‘very difficult’ time for him and that that she hoped he would not be exposed to any more ‘distress and innuendo’. She also said that Rocco felt that the case was ‘stressful and upsetting’. He is currently attending school in London and that she hoped Rocco’s parents ‘come to an agreement that will shield him from this matter’.
The case is to resume on 1 June.