Rocco Ritchie, Madonna’s 15-year-old son with British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, is refusing to come home from London to join his mom for the holidays in New York.
So Madonna went to court in Manhattan on Wednesday (dressed in a black fur cape) and won a court order to force Rocco to return, against his wishes if necessary.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan ordered Rocco to talk to his mom and revisit the issue of which parent he prefers to live with later. She also said Rocco will get his own court-appointed attorney in the matter.
The hearing, according to the New York Daily News, suggested some tension over custody of the teen between Madonna and Ritchie, who divorced in 2008.
Ritchie’s lawyer, Eric Buckley, told the judge that Rocco has “expressed very clearly that he does not want to return to New York.”
Madonna appeared agitated and tried to interject until her lawyer, Eleanor Alter, shushed her.
“Has he prevented the child from returning to the U.S.?” Kaplan asked.
“Effectively yes,” Buckley replied. “I’m granting you all the relief you have requested,” Kaplan told Madonna. “I’m directing the child to be returned to New York. If he wants to stay with his father, he must return to his mother.”
She also ordered that both parents not discuss the legal proceedings with Rocco.
Michael Stutman, leading matrimonial expert and head of the family law practice at the Mishcon de Reya firm, predicted it would not be a merry Christmas for either household.
“No one wins when they go against the court’s wishes, but it’s very difficult for both sides when the child is digging their heels in,” he said.
The judge did not have to tell either side not to talk to the media: Madonna’s representatives did not return emails seeking comment, and the singer refused to speak to the reporters clamoring for comment at the courthouse once the hearing ended.
Rocco is the elder child of the ex-couple; Adopted son David Banda is 10. Madonna also has two other children, Lourdes, 19, and adopted daughter Mercy James, 9.