Image: Director Guy Ritchie and Madonna arrive for the world premiere of “RocknRolla” in London, in this file photo taken September 1, 2008. REUTERS/Stephen Hird/Files
By Marcus E. Howard
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York judge on Wednesday urged Madonna and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie to work together to resolve a custody dispute over their 15 year-old son, Rocco, who has refused to return to his mother’s New York home.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan set a June 1 date for Madonna and Ritchie to come back to court following a conference call with attorneys for all three parties.
Kaplan said she wanted to encourage the parents, along with their lawyers, to resolve the matter in the best interests of their son. She said she may wish to meet at some point with Rocco, who has been living in London with his film director father.
In December, the teen ignored a court order to fly back to New York to reside with his mother. The pop star and Ritchie divorced in 2008 and agreed Rocco would live with the “Material Girl” singer.
None of the trio appeared in person on Wednesday. Attorney Ellen Sigal, representing Rocco, told the judge the teen was enjoying school in London but was having “a very difficult time.”
“Having this order over his head has been very stressful for him,” Sigal said by conference call.
No details were given on why Rocco wished to live with his father. According to recent celebrity media reports, Madonna’s strict parenting style is thought to be at the heart of the dispute.
The singer, 57, is currently on the Asian leg of her “Rebel Heart” world tour, with her next show set for New Zealand on March 5. Rocco had joined her for the initial stages of the tour, working backstage. He also went on tour with her in 2012.
Madonna has posted several childhood photos of Rocco on social media in the past two months, expressing her affection for him.
“I miss this boy so full of life so full@of@love” she wrote on Instagram last week over a photo of a smiling, long-haired Rocco.
Twice-married Madonna has three other children: daughter Lourdes, 19, with her then-partner Carlos Leon; and David and Mercy, both 10, who were adopted from Malawi.
Ritchie, director of the 2009 film “Sherlock Holmes,” remarried in 2015 to Brit’sh model Jacqui Ainsley.
(Writing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Dan Grebler and David Gregorio)
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