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Papa Don’t Preach – Child residence dispute

Children Maintenance
Published: 9th September 2016 - Category: Children - Author: Lynne Bastow

Celebrity Child Residence Dispute

Guy Ritchie and Madonna have now settled their differences over the Child residence dispute of their 16 year old son Rocco.

The Material Girl has agreed that Rocco will remain in London with his father. The dispute started in December when Rocco left Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to live with his father in London. Madonna attended court in New York demanding the return of her son. The Order was granted but not complied with. What is of interest, aside from the obvious, is the evidence provided to the court regarding the impact this wrangling had on the teen. He was clearly deeply distressed at his parents actions. He was noted as suffering from stress by his court appointed lawyer Ellen Sigal.

Both parents were repeatedly scolded by judges to resolve their differences swiftly and with as little acrimony as possible. New York State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan said:

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

Nine months on it cannot be said that they complied with the court’s wishes. This is often the problem in child arrangement proceedings. Madonna believed that the Sherlock Holmes director was too “permissive” with their son. Ritchie believed that Rocco’s needs now required him some freedom.

Each parent clearly loved their son.

But they differed on their parenting skills.

At what age can a child decide who to live with?

The agreement was reached shortly before these parents were due to appear in court to attempt to settle their differences. It illustrates that there is no winner in a child contact dispute. The child’s wishes and feelings become more and more paramount the older the child is. Indeed the courts have stated in the past that a child as young as 10 should not be made to live with a parent against their wishes. The difficulty is if the child’s wishes and feelings have been influenced by the other parent – if there is parental alienation at work.

Parental Alienation

In a reported case the Court of Appeal sought to force a 13 year old boy to live with his father – recognising that the mother was alienating the child from his father and this was causing irreparable emotional harm. The boy however was desperately unhappy with his father, refused to engage even after a period of foster care and reluctantly the father agreed for his son to return to live with his mother in the hope that increasing contact with his father would happen in the future. Rocco will sleep much better tonight. However angry you are at your ex partner just remember you are no longer the ultimate priority in life anymore. They are. There are no winners in a child residence dispute.

In any child residence dispute there are three opinions – yours, your exes and your child’s. Madonna accepted that she was out gunned and also at his age Rocco can make up his own mind as the courts no longer have jurisdiction. It is important to recognize that the most damaging aspect for the child is parental conflict. Settling the dispute – even if it goes against what you want and believe is in your child’s best interest may actually be the most appropriate result for your child.

Child focused

How hard it is to be child focused depends on the gravity and length of the dispute. It is not easy in fact it may be the hardest thing you ever have to do in life. Madoona is nothing if not brave.  Her mission now is to win back her son’s affection. Rocco called himself a son of a bitch on his new instagram acccount as reported in  The Daily Mail His way of showing his mother he now has a mind of his own – their relationship will need to enter a new stage of adult adult communication – the parent child period gone forever. Or else they face total alienation.  Accepting your child is no longer your child and is free to make their own decisions and mistakes in life is the tough inevitable side of parenting.


Lynne Bastow - Divorce Solicitor

Meet Lynne Bastow

With over 20 years experience, Lynne can provide excellent and valuable advice and has a friendly, positive approach towards all her clients, ensuring you get the best service possible. If you would like my help you can contact me here. Contact Lynne

Read Lynne's Books

If you need more information on divorce, Lynne has published two informative guides on divorce, which you can purchase from Amazon.

The Little Book of Divorce

The Little Book of Divorce

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The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

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