California fans of singer Madonna may have heard that her 15-year-old son no longer wants to live with his mother. He has been in London visiting his father, film director Guy Ritchie, during the Christmas break from school, but on Dec. 23, a judge in New York said that he had to return to the United States.
On Dec. 21, her son began litigation in the United Kingdom saying that he wanted to remain in the country, but New York apparently has jurisdiction in the case. This is due to the fact that Ritchie and Madonna's divorce was initiated there, and according to the agreement at that time, their two children were supposed to live with their mother.
The attorney for Madonna's son in London retained his passport for safekeeping and was described as effectively preventing his return. However, her son will receive his own court-appointed attorney in New York.
Many divorced parents find themselves in custody disputes long after the order has been entered. This may particularly be true as the child gets older and wants some input into which parent they live with. While some courts will take the wishes of an older child into account, there are also practical issues. For example, the other parent may need to be able to care for the child full-time. There may also be a dispute over the correct jurisdiction when the parents live in different states or countries, and thus parents must go through the proper channels in order to request a change in custody orders. An attorney can often be of assistance to a parent who is involved in such a dispute by preparing a motion to modify an existing custody order and presenting it to the court that has proper jurisdiction over the matter.
Source: New York Daily News, "Madonna feuds with ex Guy Ritchie over custody of son, teen wants to stay with director dad in London," Barbara Ross and Stephen Rex Brown, Dec. 24, 2015