Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

'On tour' Madonna misses court date over future of son Rocco

Published 10/03/2016

Guy Ritchie and Madonna are embroiled in a family court dispute in London relating to their 15-year-old son Rocco
Guy Ritchie and Madonna are embroiled in a family court dispute in London relating to their 15-year-old son Rocco

Madonna missed a court hearing over the future of her 15-year-old son Rocco because she is on tour, a London judge heard.

A lawyer told Mr Justice MacDonald on Thursday that the singer would "very much wish" to be at the private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court but was on tour in Australia.

The judge was analysing the latest stage of a dispute over Rocco between Madonna and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie - the teenager's father.

Rocco, Mr Ritchie and his wife Jacqui were at the hearing.

"The mother remains on tour, I think in Australia," David Williams QC, for Madonna, told the judge.

"She would very much wish to be here."

Reports said Madonna - who is in Australia as part of her Rebel Heart Tour - appeared at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne dressed as a clown.

She was performing at a one-off gig called Tears of a Clown - riding a child's tricycle onto the stage and singing Stephen Sondheim's Send in the Clowns, the Independent reported.

He said the fact that the hearing was taking place could be reported - and the parties could be named - but he said no detail could be publicised.

Mr Justice MacDonald has already considered a number of legal issues at a hearing last week.

Similar hearings have taken place in New York following the launch of family court litigation in America.

A judge in New York has heard that Rocco is living with his father in England.

She has also urged Madonna and Mr Ritchie to reach agreement.

Lawyers told Mr Justice MacDonald at last week's hearing that Madonna wanted the teenager to return to live with her in the US and had issued an application in England under an international legal convention.

They said the singer now wanted to withdraw that application and bring the legal proceedings launched in England to a close.

The judge said last week that he had to decide whether the proceedings launched by Madonna in England should end - or whether he should make decisions on Rocco's welfare.

Specialist barristers are representing Madonna, Mr Ritchie and Rocco.

Madonna is represented by Mr Williams and Jacqueline Renton; Mr Ritchie is represented by barristers Alex Verdan QC and Michael Gration; Rocco is represented by barristers Henry Setright QC and Edward Devereux via a court-approved guardian.

Mr Williams last week told Mr Justice MacDonald that Madonna had launched proceedings in England under the The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

A judge in New York is analysing issues relating to the custody of Rocco - and those proceedings have already been widely reported in the media.

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