The Unfortunate Child

Pop-icon, Madonna, was in court again over time sharing issues involving her son, Rocco, with her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie. For the uninitiated, Madonna lives in New York; Guy Ritchie lives in London. Rocco chose to fly to London to be with his father. Madonna filed suit in New York family court to require Rocco’s return to New York. Although the Judge granted Madonna’s request, Rocco, who is now 16, chose to defy the New York court order, and instead remain in London to spend Christmas with his Father.

To date, Rocco and his father have continued to ignore the New York order. Recently, the British tabloids have quietly surfaced the fact that Rocco never left Great Britain and is, in fact, living with his father in London, permanently. Although this is anything but a traditional abduction case, Rocco’s plight highlights the global issues that now present themselves in our multi-national families. Currently, in Great Britain, over a third of its children are born to at least one parent who is a citizen of a foreign nation.  While most of these foreign nationals are law-abiding, child abductions are significantly increasing, unfortunately.

Generally speaking, when a court asserts jurisdiction over a minor child (such as the New York court did in this divorce), jurisdiction is retained in that court unless there is an intervening event. However, if the child is not actually present in the locale of the court, enforcing the order of that court becomes very, very complicated, especially outside the United States.  For example, obtaining enforcement in Great Britain of an order issued in the United States about a child who happens to be in Great Britain temporarily raises issues of jurisdictional conflict and requires legal teams on both sides of the Atlantic to battle through the issues.

Further, courts are very sensitive to issues caused by one parent related to a minor child especially when those issues originate in social media. On December 25, 2015, Madonna chose to air her grievances against her son, his father (her former husband), the courts, and the rest of the world on Twitter and Instagram. She then uploaded multiple photos of Rocco and sent them to her fan base worldwide. Apparently, her son did not like this. It was this fact, as well as others, that Rocco raised, through his own attorney, to advise the Judge in Great Britain of his reasons for not returning to his mother and New York.

Whether it is a case of child abduction or obstruction of justice, Hudson family law is poised to assist its clients. For more information regarding this or any other family law situation, please give me a call on (561) 472-0805 or click here to contact me.